Hello everyone, this is Manon DURAND, health lawyer at Pharmaspecific. We’re meeting again to talk about the General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR), which is the reference text in terms of personal data protection, and which came into force in the European Union on May 25, 2018.
The question of the day is whether a patient can request that data contained in their medical record be deleted. The medical record is a set of documents that will trace the life of the patient concerning his health. So there can be histories of operations, treatments taken, medical visits… Except that the importance of this medical record is such that if a doctor consults a patient’s medical record and some information are missing, his decision making can be erroneous because he will not have all the information at his disposal.
This problem must be weighed against the principles of personal data protection, which require that a data subject, in this case the patient, may still have certain powers over his personal data. Indeed, the patient can ask for the deletion or rectification of personal data contained in his medical file; he can make this request to the hospital, but it is not without conditions.
Firstly, he can only do so if the data are inaccurate, ambiguous, outdated or incomplete. Secondly, he must be able to justify a legitimate reason for the deletion or rectification of his data. For example, a patient was able to obtain the deletion of his data on the grounds that a member of his family worked in the same hospital and that he did not want the member of his family to have access to his health information, in particular a pathology of which he was a victim.
So, if all these conditions are met, the patient will be able to ask for a modification or a deletion of his data, but in practice the reason must really be justified.
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