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Your privacy and scientific research

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​​​​​​​​​​​​At the UMCG, we attach great value to privacy. We see it as our task, and part of our daily work, to protect the data of our patients as well as possible. If you are a patient of ours (or if your child is a patient of ours), we have to process your personal data (or that of your child).

But we also process your personal data if you participate in academic research, if you are a patient’s contact person or if you visit our website. Below, you can read about what exactly this process involves, why we do it and what your rights are. Do you have any questions about your privacy at the UMCG? If so, you can directly contact the Data Protection Officers: Piet Dinjens and Boudien Sieperda. The Data Protection Officers can be contacted at Contact. Are you dissatisfied with how we handle your privacy? If so, you can submit a complaint to the privacy supervisor, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA). The DPA website explains how this can be done.

More information about how we process your data when visiting our website can be found in our Cookies policy.​​

Privacy

Your privacy as a patient  

As soon as you arrive at the UMCG and are admitted as a patient, we will start to process your personal data. By processing we mean that, for example, we will store and supplement your data, supply them to your health care providers and, in due time, delete these data again. If you are treated by us, we will be processing your medical data in your patient file.

What and why?

We need your personal data to provide you with the best possible care, which is also what we stand for! Every health care provider will do his or her utmost to give you the best possible treatment. For this purpose, we need your medical data, such as what you have told your doctor, test results, your diagnosis and treatment plan. Apart from your medical data, we also need other personal data, such as your name, address, date of birth and CSN. We need this to be able to identify you and to make sure we don’t confuse you with another patient. In terms of all this information, we will not process any data other than those we need to provide you with proper care. We will keep your data for at least 15 years after your treatment has been completed. Because the UMCG is a university hospital, we are obliged by law to retain certain data in your medical file, the so-called ‘key records’, for 115 years, counting from your birth. These key records include your discharge letter, operation report, anaesthetist’s report, pathologist’s test results and emergency admission report.

We consider it our duty to protect your data as best we can, which is part of our daily work. All health care providers and assistants directly involved in your treatment are under a legal duty to observe confidentiality and will not disclose your data to third parties. If we would nevertheless find it important to share your data with other parties, then you will have the right to decide and we will ask your permission. In emergencies, however, we may make a different decision. 

Your visitors

That we do not simply share your data with other people may have consequences for people who wish to visit you while you are staying at the UMCG. We find it extremely important that you are able to decide who is allowed to visit you and who is allowed to know that you are staying at the UMCG. Consequently, if a call comes in for you at our central telephone number, we will not supply any information, but tell the caller that he or she may contact you or your contact person directly. Visitors who arrive at our reception desk will only be given information about you if you have given us permission to do so. This will then be information such as whether or not you have been admitted to the UMCG and, if so, in which ward or room you are staying. Before you are admitted to the UMCG, we will ask you whether or not you will give us permission to give this information. Your permission will apply to anyone who asks for you at our reception desk, including, for example, your minister or priest. If you do not give permission or, for some reason, we have not been able yet to ask for your permission, then, to protect your privacy, we will not provide any information about your situation, not even whether or not you are staying at the UMCG. 

If you have been admitted through the Emergency Department, then a friend or family member may contact our reception desk to find out where you are. In this case, the receptionist will refer this person to the Emergency Department. It is then up to the Emergency staff to decide whether or not information may be supplied about you. Of course, they will take into account whether or not you are able to speak and verify that this person is indeed one of your close friends or relatives. If you are transferred from Emergency to a nursing ward, you will be asked as yet for permission to give information about you to your visitors. 

Inspecting data

You may inspect your personal data and the complete patient file we have of you. You can ask your doctor and your doctor is not entitled to refuse this, although he or she may screen off certain parts if these concern another person, such as a family member. Your doctor will not be obliged to give inspection of his or her personal work notes. 

You may ask for a copy of your file free of charge by sending an email to Contact or a letter to the Head of the Department in which you are treated or to the Director of Patient Care, Quality & Safety UMCG, internal postcode LA10, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen. Send a copy of your identity card with your request. Your identity card will be destroyed immediately after your identity has been checked. You may include a request for copies of photos which have been taken. If you want more than one copy of your patient file, we will charge a reasonable fee for the extra copies.

Changing data

You have the right to have your personal data changed, for example, if you have moved and we have the wrong address for you or if we have made a mistake with your date of birth or misspelt your name. These are changes in factual data. Your diagnosis, for example, you are not allowed to change, but you may always add your own point of view to your file, as well as the result of a second opinion. If you wish to change your personal data, such as your address, you may contact one of the people treating you. If you want to add something to your file or correct some inaccuracies, you may send an email to Contact or send a letter of the Director of Patient Care, Quality & Safety UMCG, internal postcode LA10, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen.

Deleting data

You may ask for your file to be deleted, whether the entire file or a part of it. Send your request for your file to be deleted by email to Contact or by letter to the Director of Patient Care, Quality & Safety UMCG, internal postcode LA10, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen, with a copy of your identity card. In principle, the UMCG must comply with your request for the (partial) deletion of your file, but not in all cases, for example, if your doctor is of the opinion that it is clearly in your own interest to retain the file or parts of it. After all, your doctor is also bound by his or her duty to provide care. In this case, your doctor may reconsider the deletion of your file together with you. Your request may also be refused if your doctor is obliged to retain your file for a certain period of time in accordance with the law or regulations. For example, we are obliged to retain the financial details of invoices for medical care for 7 years. Likewise, if it is extremely important for another person that your file is retained, your request to have it deleted may be refused. This may be related, for example, to the interests of your child in connection with hereditary diseases. Your doctor must be able to give you the reasons why he or she is not willing to delete your file or parts of it. 

If you don’t agree with this and still wish to have your file deleted, you can ask your doctor for an additional explanation and discuss the options together. You may also lodge a complaint with the UMCG. To lodge a complaint, you may contact our Patient Information Desk or submit your complaint to our Complaints Officer. You will find more information about this in our pamphlet. 

Transferring data

You have the right to take your personal data with you and to transfer it to another hospital or health care provider. This is also called data portability. This right only applies to information which you have supplied to the UMCG actively and consciously. This includes the measuring results of a pacemaker or sphygmomanometer. The right to data portability does not apply to the information recorded by your doctor on the basis of details supplied by you, such as conclusions, diagnoses, surmises and treatment plans.

Your privacy as a child  

If you are ill and you are admitted to the UMCG, we will do everything within our power to make you better again. To do this properly, we will be writing down your name, where you live, how old you are and a few more things like that.  Then we will know who you are and we can’t mix you up with someone else. We will also be writing down how you are feeling and what the results of tests show us about your illness. All these details we will put into your file. We will look after your details with care and only give them to people who are looking after you, such as your doctor and the nurse. 

Are you younger than 12?

Then your parents will be allowed to check your file to see what we have written about you. If there is something in there which is not right, for example, your address because you have moved, then your parents may ask us to change this. We will keep your file for at least 15 years, counting from your 18th birthday. Some data we have to keep for 115 years, but your parents may ask us to delete your file earlier. Your doctor will then check always if it is necessary for your treatment to still keep your file. If your doctor thinks it is important to keep your file for later, we will not delete it. We will also ask your parents if it is alright with them if we tell visitors who unexpectedly come to our reception desk that you are at the UMCG and in what room. 

Are you between 12 and 16 years of age?

Then you may ask your doctor if you can have a look at your own file. Your parents also have the right to ask this. If you would rather not have this, then you are allowed to say it and your parents will not be allowed to see your file. The same applies if you want to change certain details or if you want your file to be deleted. In any case, we will be keeping your file for at least 15 years, counting from your 18th birthday. Some data we have to keep for 115 years. We will also ask you and your parents if it is alright with you if we tell visitors who come to our reception desk unexpectedly that you are at the UMCG and in what room. 

Are you 16 or older?

Then you are allowed to check your own file. Your parents will not be allowed to do this. You may also ask for certain details to be changed, for example, if we have written down the wrong address for you. You also have the right to ask us to delete your file. Your parents will not be allowed to do this either. If you ask for your file to be deleted, your doctor will always check to see if that is alright. If it is in your interest that we keep your file longer, your doctor will be allowed to keep it, but he or she will explain to you why this is important. As a rule, we will keep your file for at least 15 years, counting from your 18th birthday. Certain data we have to keep for 115 years, counting from the date of your birth. We are obliged to do so by law, as a university hospital. If you still want your parents to read your file, change details or ask for it to be deleted, then you will have to write down that you give your parents permission for this and give this paper to your parents. We will also ask you if it is alright with you if we tell visitors who come to our reception desk unexpectedly that you are at the UMCG and in what room. 

Are you participating in scientific research?

At the UMCG we do scientific research to better understand how people fall ill. We hope that this will make it easier for us to help people get better. We might even be able to prevent people from getting ill in the future because of this. 

Maybe you have joined a scientific research project at the UMCG. Most of the time, you will not have to do anything for this, because we use information about you which we already have. Sometimes, we may need to know a little bit more about you and a researcher may then ask to do an additional test on you or ask you a few questions about how you are feeling. 

If you are younger than 12, we will always ask your parents if it is alright with them for you to join. From the age of 12, we will also ask you if you are happy to join the research and from the age of 16 you may make entirely your own decision. The doctor or researcher will tell you beforehand what it is that he or she is examining. If you have any questions, you can always ask them. 

Our researchers will use certain information about you, but they will never mention your name in a scientific research project. We will always take good care of your information which we use in our scientific research.

Your child’s privacy  

As soon as your child comes to us at the UMCG and is admitted as a patient, we will start processing his or her personal data. By processing we mean that, for example, we will store and supplement these data, supply them to your health care providers and, in due time, delete these data again.  If your child is treated by us, we will be processing his/her medical data in the patient file. 

What and why?

We need the personal data of your child to provide him or her with the best possible care, which is also what we stand for! Every health care provider will do his or her utmost to give your child the best possible treatment. For this purpose, we need your child’s medical data, such as what you and/or you child have told your doctor, test results, the diagnosis and the treatment plan. Apart from medical data, we also need other personal data, such as name, address, date of birth and CSN. We need this to be able to identify your child and to make sure we don’t confuse your child with another patient. In terms of all this information, we will not process any data other than those we need to give your child proper care. We will keep the data at least for 15 years after the treatment has been completed, counting from your child’s 18th birthday. Certain data in the medical file, the so-called ‘key records’, will be retained for 115 years, counting from your child’s date of birth. These key records will include your child’s discharge letter, operation report, anaesthetist’s report, pathologist’s test results and emergency admission report.

We consider it our duty to protect the data of your child as best we can, which is part of our daily work. All health care providers and assistants directly involved in your child’s treatment are under a legal duty to observe confidentiality and will not disclose his or her data to third parties. If we would nevertheless find it important to share this information with other parties, then you and/or your child will have the right to decide and we will ask your permission. In emergencies, however, we may make a different decision. 

Your child’s rights depend on his/her age

Depending on your child’s age, you will either be allowed to make decisions yourself, make decisions together with your child or your child will be allowed to make his/her own decisions.

Is your child younger than 12?

As parents or legal representatives, you will have the right to make decisions concerning your child and exercise his/her rights: the rights to inspect the data and to ask for a copy, the right to change or supplement the data and the right to have data deleted. 

Is your child between 12 and 16 years of age?

Your child will have the right to take part in deciding and if permission is required, it will be asked of both your child and yourself (double permission). Your child will also be allowed to ask if he or she can see his/her own file. As a parent, you will have the right to inspect the file together with your child. However, if your child does not want you to inspect the file, your child’s doctor will be entitled to refuse inspection by you. The same applies to changing data or having data deleted. 

Is your child 16 or older?

Your child will have the right to make his or her own decisions and whether or not to give permission when this is required. Your child will also be entitled to inspect the file and to ask for data to be changed or deleted. As a parent or legal representative, you will not have this right. It is only with your child’s permission that you will be able to inspect your child’s file, to change data or ask for data to be deleted. Your child can give you permission by writing and signing for it that you, as his/her parents, have permission to inspect, change or delete the file. 

Your child’s visitors

That we do not simply share your child’s data with other people may have consequences for people who wish to visit your child during his/her stay at the UMCG. We find it extremely important that you and/or your child are able to decide who is allowed to visit him/her and who is allowed to know that your child is staying at the UMCG. Consequently, if a call comes in for your child at our central telephone number, we will not supply any information about your child, but tell the caller that he or she may contact you, your child or your contact person directly. Visitors who arrive at our reception desk will only be given information about your child if you and/or your child have given us permission to do so. This will then be information such as whether or not your child has been admitted to the UMCG and, if so, in which ward or room your child is staying. Before your child is admitted to the UMCG, we will ask you and/or your child whether or not you and/or your child will give us permission to give this information. The permission will apply to anyone who asks for your child at our reception desk, including, for example, a minister or priest. If you and/or your child do not give permission or, for some reason, we have not been able yet to ask for this permission, then, to protect your privacy, we will not provide any information about your child’s situation, not even whether or not your child is staying at the UMCG. 

If your child has been admitted through the Emergency Department, then a friend or family member may contact our reception desk to find out where your child is. In this case, the receptionist will refer this person to the Emergency Department. It is then up to the Emergency staff to decide whether or not information may be supplied about your child. Of course, they will take into account whether or not your child is able to speak and verify that this person is indeed one of your child’s close friends or relatives. If your child is transferred from Emergency to a nursing ward, you and/or your child will be asked as yet for permission to give information about your child to visitors. 

Inspecting data

You and/or your child may inspect any personal data and the complete patient file we have of your child. You and/or your child may ask the doctor in charge, who is not entitled to refuse this, although he or she may screen off certain parts if these concern another person, such as a family member. The doctor will not be obliged to give inspection of his or her personal work notes. 

You and/or your child may ask for a copy of your child’s file free of charge either by sending an email to Contact or a letter to the Head of the Department in which your child is treated or to the Director of Patient Care, Quality & Safety UMCG, internal postcode LA10, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen. Send a copy of your and/or your child’s identity card with your request. This identity card will be destroyed immediately after verification of identity. You and/or your child may include a request for copies of photos which have been taken. If you and/or your child want more than one copy of the patient file, we will charge a reasonable fee for the extra copies.

Changing data

You and/or your child have the right to have data changed. For example, if your child has moved and we have the wrong address or if we have made a mistake with his or her date of birth or misspelt his or her name. These are changes in factual data. The diagnosis, for example, you and/or your child will not be allowed to change, but you and/or your child may always add a personal point of view to the file, as well as the outcome of a second opinion. If you and/or your child wish to change any data, you and/or your child may mention this to one of the persons in charge of your child. If you and/or your child want to add something to your file, you may mention this to the doctor in charge, who will make sure that your personal point of view or any second opinion will be added to the file. 

Deleting data

You and/or your child may ask for your child’s file to be deleted, whether the entire file or a part of it. The request to have the file deleted may be sent by email to Contact or by letter to the Director of Patient Care, Quality & Safety UMCG, internal postcode LA10, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen, with a clear copy of your child’s identity card. In principle, the UMCG must comply with the request for the (partial) deletion of your child’s file, but not in all cases. For example, if the doctor in charge of your child is of the opinion that it is clearly in your child’s interests to retain the file or parts of it. After all, your child’s doctor is also bound by his or her duty to provide care. In this case, the doctor in charge may reconsider the deletion of the file together with you and/or your child. The doctor may also refuse the request if he or she is obliged to retain your file for a certain period of time in accordance with the law or regulations. For example, we are obliged to retain the financial details of invoices for medical care for 7 years. Likewise, if it is extremely important for another person that your child’s file is retained, the request to have it deleted may be refused. This may be related, for example, to the interests of your child in connection with hereditary diseases. The doctor in charge must be able to give you and/or your child his or her reasons for not being prepared to delete the file or parts of it.

If you and/or your child don’t agree with this and still wish to have the file deleted, you and/or your child can ask the doctor in charge for an additional explanation and discuss the options together. You and/or your child may also lodge a complaint with the UMCG. To lodge a complaint, you may contact our Patient Information Desk or submit the complaint to our Complaints Officer. For more information, please see the pamphlet “UMCG Complaints Procedure”. Depending on your child’s age, he or she may also lodge his or her own complaint.

Transferring data

You and/or your child will have the right to take personal data with you and to transfer it to another hospital or health care provider. This is also called data portability. This right only applies to information which you and/or your child have supplied to the UMCG actively and consciously. This includes the measuring results of a pacemaker or sphygmomanometer. The right to data portability does not apply to the information recorded by the doctor in charge on the basis of details supplied by you and/or your child, such as conclusions, diagnoses, surmises and treatment plans.

Your privacy as our patient’s contact person or representative or as a visitor to our website  

Even if you are not a patient of the UMCG, we may be processing a small amount of personal data of you. This will only be done if it is necessary in order to be able to contact you. This is the case if you are designated as our patient's contact person or legal representative, if you leave data behind when completing a web form or if you send us an email. We will not retain these details longer than is necessary. For example, as long as your family member is staying at our hospital or as long as it takes to reply to the question you have sent us. We will not disclose your data to third parties without your permission. For more information about the processing of your personal data when you visit our website, see our Cookie Policy

Your privacy as a student  

Privacy Statement UMCG Training & Education

Your privacy as a participant in a training and development activity at the UMCG

If you are involved in an activity at the UMCG within the framework of personal or professional development (course, training, coaching, etc.), we will be collecting your necessary personal data. To this effect, we will be recording and processing your data while you are involved in the training and development activity and for a certain period of time after that. We find your privacy extremely important and will therefore treat your personal data with care. We have taken measures to protect your data properly. This privacy statement describes which data we will be processing and why. It also gives you information about your rights. 

What and why?

To be able to teach properly and to train and coach students and employees it is necessary to process a number of personal details. These are contact details such as your name, address, date of birth and email address. We need this information to be able to identify you and to make sure that we do not confuse you with another participant. Depending on the specific training or development activity, we will keep records of additional data, such as your study results, and will store your progress details and marks in the education file, whilst participants will be creating their own portfolios in which they and their coaches keep records of their results. We will be processing your personal data in compliance with the legal obligations we are under within the scope of providing proper teaching and education. In addition to this, we will be processing your data because we will be entering into a contract with you for providing education. In terms of all data, we will not process any data other than those we need to be able to provide the training or development activity.  

Retention time-limit

We will not keep your data longer than is necessary for providing the training or development activity and its completion. In principle, we will be keeping your data no more than two years from the end of the course, training or coaching programme. However, a statutory retention obligation may apply which is longer. For example, we will retain the results of exams and studies until these have expired, which is ten years. Diplomas and certificates will be kept for 30 years and registration details of participants for 7 years. Theses and other comparable records we will only keep if you give us permission to do this. These will then be included in either a physical and/or digital library and will remain available for other interested parties. 

Inspecting data

You will have the right to ask what data of you are processed and to inspect these. You will also have the right to know for what purpose your details are processed, who will receive these details and how long they will be retained. You may also ask for a copy of your personal data, which will be issued to you free of charge. If you wish to receive more than one copy, we are allowed to charge you a reasonable fee. 

Changing data

If you notice that your personal details are not correct or not complete, you will have the right to have these corrected or supplemented. We will then make sure that the correct details will be entered into our systems as soon as possible. As soon as we know that certain details are incorrect, we will not use your details until we have verified that they are correct. 

Deleting data

You may ask for your data or a part thereof to be deleted. If there is no well-founded reason to refuse your request, we will delete your data. There are circumstances in which we will be unable to comply with your request, for example, if we are obliged by law to retain your data. Nor do you have the right to ask us to delete your examination results or study results. If we are unable to delete certain data, we will let you know the reasons for it.

Transferring data

You have the right to take your personal data with you and to transfer it to another teaching institute. This is also called data portability. This right only applies to digital data and information which we have obtained from you, either because you have supplied it to us or because you have used a service or device which we have made available for training purposes.

Submitting a request for inspection, changes, deletion and transfer

Where to submit your request for inspection, changes, deletion and transfer of your data depends on where you are enrolled for training:

Wenckebach Institute

If you are participating in a training or development activity at the Wenckebach Institute, you may contact Contact.

Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GSMS)

If you are enrolled at the Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GSMS), you may contact Contact. Any GNK, THK and BW students can follow the RUG procedure, see below.

Rijksuniversiteit [State University] Groningen

If you are a student at the Faculty of Medicine and are studying Medicine, Dentistry or Kinesiology, you may contact the University of Groningen through Contact  For more information, see also the General Privacy Statement of the RUG.

Your privacy and scientific research  

Because we are a university hospital we do a lot of scientific research. It allows us to learn more about health and illness and this knowledge, in turn, helps us to better understand, treat and prevent diseases. 

For many scientific studies we use medical data and body material from patients. This is material and data concerning a patient that we already have, for example because someone has seen us for diagnosis or treatment. Sometimes we ask if patients are willing to provide additional data or body material to help us with research. Anyone can participate in research, not just UMCG patients.

Because this concerns your data and body material, your privacy is an important factor in scientific research. For example, we are not able to see (directly) who the material or data belongs to. Information like your name, address and telephone number have been removed or replaced by a code or number. The place where and the software with which research is performed are properly protected. The research must always comply with legislation and regulations.

You are always free to inform us that you do not wish for your data or body material to be used. Please see  taking part in scientific research to read how you can do this.

Inspection of your data

You can always inspect your personal data gathered for scientific research. For example:

  • Healthcare data from your patient file 
  • Data specifically obtained for scientific study, e.g. through questionnaires 

You may ask for a free copy of these data from the research involved in the scientific research. You may also ask for a description that explains why and how your data has been used in the scientific study. This is also free of charge. The research is obliged to provide with this information if you ask for it. If you want more than one copy, we will charge a reasonable fee for the extra copies.

Correcting data

Does your information contain incorrect data? Please inform the researcher, who will be able to correct them, only in case of details such as your date of birth or email address. You must be able to demonstrate that these details are incorrect, e.g. by means of your driver’s license. 

You cannot ask for a completed questionnaire, diagnosis or test result to be modified. 

Deletion of data

We keep data that we collected for scientific for about 15 years, sometimes longer. This includes yours contact details like your name and address. We do this because we need to be able to check afterwards that a scientific study has been performed properly and validly. You can ask the researcher whether your data can be deleted in the future. 

In case of data included in a database or a biobank, there are slightly different procedures. If you have given written permission, you will have also received a withdrawal form. You can complete this and send it to us. We will then make sure that your data is deleted. You will receive confirmation of this. If you no longer have the information letter and the form, you can request it from the researcher of the database or biobank.