Technology Minister Fayval Williams says the Data Protection Bill will require public health facilities to strengthen security mechanisms to safeguard patient information.
The bill, which is now before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, will offer new rights and protections on the use of citizens’ personal data.
Williams has urged public healthcare facilities to prepare for its implementation.
“The healthcare sector is an area that manages sensitive personal data. The Data Protection Bill is making its way through Parliament and there are going to be new obligations on you for the data you have. You will be required to do a number of things to ensure the data is safe and secure,” she pointed out.
She noted that individuals will have greater autonomy over how their personal information is used.
“We will also have new rights to our personal data under that new regime. As data subjects, we will have the right to call on you to tell us what data you have on us and to give us,” she added.
Minister Williams was speaking at the official ceremony to announce the increase in bandwidth at the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) and the Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee hospitals, held on Tuesday (February 18) at the hospitals’ North Street address in Kingston.
Among other things, the Data Protection Bill will provide guidelines on how personal data should be collected, processed, stored, used and disclosed in physical or electronic form.
It requires that data should only be obtained for specific lawful purposes, with the consent of the individual, and should not be used or processed in any way incompatible with the original purpose.
It further stipulates that the data collected must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; must not be held for longer than is necessary for the original purpose; must be protected using appropriate technical and organisational measures, and be disposed of in accordance with the regulations.
The bill provides that data must not be transferred to a State or territory outside of Jamaica, without an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of the individual from whom the data has been collected.
Meanwhile, Williams said that there will be further improvements in the information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and energy efficiency at KPH and VJH.
“We are happy to enable the ICT infrastructure here and there will be more to come. Work is soon to commence on the energy efficiency – the hospitals will be getting deep retrofits. Contractors will look at the lighting and air-conditioning system and energy use to see if renewables could be used to help drive efficiencies here. That contract was signed, and the implementation is to take place shortly,” she indicated.