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Data protection/health information

Download HRB Discussion Document in PDF

Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003

Since the revision of the Data Protection Act in 2003 there has been much discussion and work done in attempting to create a reasonable regime of data protection in the field of public health and medical research in Ireland and elsewhere. That work is captured in a HRB Discussion Document which examines the legal and practical ramifications of the Acts, especially as they relate to public health and medical research. The Discussion Document provides an overview and selected comparison with experience elsewhere and examines:

  • the general issues of law that apply to privacy and confidentiality in relation to medical information
  • the Data Protection Act in general and its background
  • how the Act applies to medical research
  • some case studies that look at the difficulties that the Act poses and its application to certain types of research protocols
  • whether regulation/legislation is required to resolve concerns
  • how the Act applies to disclosure of Records of the Dead

This HRB Discussion Document should be of particular use to anyone working with health information, or preparing a submission under the Department of Health and Children consultation on the draft Health Information Bill.

Download HRB Discussion Document in PDF

Health Information Bill

As part of the Health Reform Programme, the Department of Health and Children is preparing new legislation on the collection, use, sharing, storage, disclosure and transfer of personal health information as well as ensuring that the privacy of such information is appropriately respected

The main objectives of the Health Information Bill are:

  • to establish a legislative framework to enable information ?in whatever form- to be used to best effect to enhance medical care and patient safety throughout the health system,
  • to facilitate the greater use of information technologies for better delivery of patient services, and
  • to underpin an effective information governance structure for the health system generally.

Accordingly, a Discussion Document on the Bill and an accompanying Audit Paper setting out relevant key international instruments, national laws and guidelines relating to health information for Ireland and selected other countries have been prepared. These documents are available for download below.

Information on how to make a submission can be obtained from the Department of Health and Children webpage:

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