POPI for optometrists

At Nevada Cloud we strive to ensure that we keep you updated with the latest industry announcements and latest eyecare technology advancements 

Nevada Cloud has been assisting practitioners since 2006. In light of the POPIA effective from 1 July 2021, we would like to reassure you of the security measures Nevada Cloud has in place regarding the protection and privacy of your personal information. We take pride in our state-of-the-art software and have been POPIA and GDPR compliant since 2015. Currently, we protect over 1 million new patient records per year. Here at Nevada Cloud, we take data seriously. 

Ethical responsibility as a practitioner

One of the most significant challenges facing practitioners today is gaining patient trust. Patient trust helps build a long-term, patient-practice relationship where sustainable quality eye care is at the centre of a mutually beneficial relationship. And one of the best ways to build trust is through good communication. As vision experts, optometrists are uniquely positioned to educate their patients about the diagnosed conditions, pathology, treatment plans and after-care regime. Nonetheless, effective communication within the consultation room may be considered vital in building trust; patients seldom retain the crucial information regarding their eyes and vision care after leaving the consultation room.

Fortunately, with so much information in the world today being consumed via handheld devices, it’s highly effective to also communicate your eye care recommendations digitally – directly to your patients’ own devices. Innovative software programs, like Ocumail, enable optometrists to automate and maintain ongoing communication with patients between consultations in a safe, secure manner in line with both POPIA and HPCSA guidelines.

This is in line with Ethical and professional rules of the Health Professions Council of South Africa as promulgated in government gazette R717/2006: Section 27A.

* A practitioner shall at all times
(a) act in the best interests of his or her patients;
(b) respect patient confidentiality, privacy, choices and dignity;
(c) maintain the highest standards of personal conduct and integrity;
(d) provide adequate information about the patient’s diagnosis, treatment options and alternatives, costs associated with each such alternative and any other pertinent information to enable the patient to exercise a choice in terms of treatment and informed decision-making pertaining to his or her health and that of others;
(e) keep his or her professional knowledge and skills up to date;
(f) maintain proper and effective communication with his or her patients and other professionals;
(g) except in an emergency, obtain informed consent from a patient or, in the event that the patient is unable to provide consent for treatment himself or herself, from his or her next of kin; and
(h) keep accurate patient records.

From this, one can stipulate that the HPSCA and the POPI Act are both protecting and acting in the best interest of the patient. Also, all information that is shared with the patient needs to be in line with the specific patient’s conditions and needs to be accurate and protected at all times.

POPIA and Practitioners

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) which came into effect, 1 July 2021, is not something the healthcare industry should fear. In reality, it reaffirms existing healthcare legislative provisions dealing with confidentiality and disclosure of health information. However, there are additional requirements that need to be adhered to; one of the requirements is having an operator agreement in place.

Please visit our Legal section for our Customer Privacy Notice, among other legal and POPIA documentation, including our Operator Agreement for your practice records. Regarding the operator, agreement fill out RP details on pages 2, 13, 15 and keep your records. We would suggest you sign digitally using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which will avoid the need to print, sign and scan. Once completed, please would you also email us a copy for our records to info@nevadacloud.com.

Nevada Cloud Security Officer, Dr Peter Tobin

Nevada Cloud has worked with IACT Africa since May 2015. Dr Peter Tobin, the lead consultant and data privacy specialist, has the necessary knowledge, skills and experience about the POPI Act and how to prepare an organisation for compliance.
Dr Peter Tobin has produced over 200 papers and presentations, and we have worked with him since 2015. He is an expert in data and privacy laws. Should your practice require info sec assistance, I would highly recommend using his services. Visit his LinkedIn profile.

Most practices already have adequate systems in place to protect data in their possession, including personal information. Still, a thorough review of current systems and security measures is worthwhile given the strict penalties and enforcement actions that apply under POPI. Should you feel you would like to update your current system, we would be happy to assist.

Latest Posts