In National Privacy Commission (“NPC”) Public Health Emergency (“PHE”) Bulletin No. 11, the NPC and the Department of Health (“DOH”) reiterated the importance of the accurate disclosure of COVID-19 patients’ personal data in the fight against the pandemic. They stated that not only will this help in contact tracing and the management of the disease, but it will also allow front liners to adopt the necessary measures to protect themselves.
However, in order for COVID-19 patients to be truthful and cooperative, the NPC and the DOH reminded public health authorities, concerned health care providers, and other government entities who are custodians of patients’ personal data that they have the obligation under the law to protect the data privacy rights of these patients and to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the patients’ personal data.
Aside from assuring that the data privacy rights of COVID-19 patients are protected, the DOH also guarantees that it only discloses these data to authorized government entities, such as public health authorities and the concerned healthcare providers, based on DOH guidelines.
Finally, the NPC and DOH express that it is through these assurances of privacy that fears of COVID-19 related assaults, discrimination and harassment can be alleviated, as well as encourage patients to report their symptoms, take confirmatory tests, and submit themselves to treatments by proper authorities.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice.