“The guidelines regarding data treatment in customer satisfaction surveys in the area of health services” have been published on the Italian Privacy Authority website.
More and more often public and private health bodies carry out surveys regarding the quality of services provided and level of consumer satisfaction. This activity requires handling patients’ personal data and must be carried out in accordance with the regulations of the Italian Authority for the protection of Personal Data.
The following is a summary of the main features.
The guidelines stipulate for use of personal data and in particular data which might identify users, to be reduced to a minimum and only if essential to successfully complete the survey.
In any case the use of information which might reveal details of interviewees’ sex lives is prohibited as is the possibility of using collected data for other purposes, such as user profiling.
While public bodies may carry out surveys without the consent of the individuals concerned, private bodies are still obliged to obtain this consent.
Both private and public health bodies have the obligation to provide patients with an information sheet also in a verbal form (the Authority has published an example information sheet attached to the Guidelines) and they are furthermore obliged to issue instructions to the staff who perform the surveys, with particular regard to the case of telephone surveys.