Please note that the below information is subject to change and can be updated by government at any time. This post provides guidance on POPIA and how it applies to the medical industry.
The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) is a piece of legislation in South Africa that came into effect on 1 July 2021, aimed at regulating the processing of personal information in the country. The act provides a framework for the protection of personal information, and seeks to balance the right to privacy with the legitimate interests of responsible parties in processing personal information.
In the medical industry, POPIA has a significant impact as health information is considered some of the most sensitive personal information. The act requires health care providers and organizations to take steps to protect the personal information of their patients and clients, including information related to their health, financial, and biometric information.
Under POPIA, medical institutions are required to appoint an Information Officer who is responsible for ensuring that the institution complies with the act. The Information Officer must have a good understanding of the act and the relevant regulations, and must keep up to date with any changes to the legislation.
Medical institutions are also required to implement appropriate security measures to protect personal information, including the use of secure storage facilities and the encryption of personal information when it is transmitted over the internet. Additionally, medical institutions must have policies and procedures in place to deal with breaches of personal information, and must report any such breaches to the Information Regulator as soon as possible.
Medical institutions are also required to obtain the informed consent of patients before collecting, processing, and using their personal information. This means that patients must be fully informed about the purpose for which their personal information will be used, and must give their explicit consent for it to be used.
In conclusion, POPIA has a significant impact on the medical industry in South Africa, and it is essential for medical institutions to comply with the act to protect the personal information of their patients and clients. The act provides a framework for the protection of personal information and requires medical institutions to take appropriate measures to protect personal information, obtain informed consent, and report breaches of personal information.