• University of Groningen logo

Protecting Health Data in the Modern Age: Getting to Grips with the GDPR

Learn how the GDPR helps to protect health data and get familiar with rights, obligations, risks and safeguards.

8,211 enrolled on this course

Stethoscope on top of a list of data.

Protecting Health Data in the Modern Age: Getting to Grips with the GDPR

8,211 enrolled on this course

  • 2 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Join this course to understand how health data is protected

People use technologies to track their fitness and health. Medical and health professionals use technologies to treat patients. These technologies generate a lot of health data. With technological developments in the health sector come questions of privacy.

This course will explore the protection of health data in light of the GDPR. You will learn about rights, obligations, risks, safeguards and many other related aspects. By exploring the changing data protection landscape, you will improve your awareness of how to protect health data in an evolving digital and technical world.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds Mobile phones. Wearables. Computers. Tablets. Electronic patient files. MRI scans. Ultrasounds. ECGs. X-rays. All these electronic solutions and more are used on a daily basis. People use sports apps to track their progress. Health care professionals use tablets to access electronic patient files and exchange information with their colleagues. These solutions generate a lot of data. Do you know what happens to this health data? What if the state has exchanged between health care professionals, or even crosses borders? What if commercial apps are used in a medical context? How is this data kept secure against hacking? How is this data protected? The new General Data Protection Regulation provides legal protection to address these questions and more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds During this course, you will meet the girl next door, Anna. Anna’s case will help us to find answers in light of the GDPR. She will serve as an example throughout the course. During this course, you will learn to identify possible risks to processing health data in light of new technological developments. You will explore how to address these risks, in light of the GDPR. Various topics, such as rights and obligations, cross-border transfer, and safeguards will be dealt with to tackle questions of protecting sensitive data. If you’re interested in finding out more about the protection of health data– Come join our course.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to protecting health data

    • Introduction

      Introduction to the protection of health data in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

    • Legal aspects

      Introduction to the legal aspects of the protection of health data

    • GDPR obligations and sensitive data

      Obligations and sensitive data with regard health data

    • Transferring health data

      Transferring health data

    • Consent

      Learn more on the role of consent for processing (health) data.

    • Rights of data subjects

      Learn more about the rights of data subjects according to the GDPR.

    • Risks

      There are risks involved when processing health data, both in the offline and online world.

  • Week 2

    Protecting health data in the modern age

    • Apps and wearables

      Apps and wearables

    • Risks

      What are the risks involved in using modern technologies such as apps and wearables for the processing of health data?

    • Cross-border health data

      Cross-border health data

    • Medical research

      Introduction to the relevance to society as regards medical research.

    • Anonymisation

      Introducing safeguards

    • Data retention

      Another important safeguard, next to anonymisation, is data retention.

    • Summary and closing

      Summary and closing

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify legal terminology as well as the legal obligations as regards health data.
  • Identify risks involved in processing health data, in particular in light of technological developments.
  • Identify the rights of data subjects as regards health data.
  • Explore the impact of the legal framework on new technologies used in healthcare, more specifically apps and wearables.
  • Investigate the possibilities of using health data for research purposes.

Who is the course for?

The course is aimed at anyone who is interested in the legal framework concerning health data. It will be of particular interest to medical and health professionals as well as medical researchers, insurers, IT developers, students, patients and other individuals who want to learn more about data protection and the GDPR as regards health data.

There are no requirements or expected pre-knowledge required to follow this course successfully. You may also be interested in Understanding the General Data Protection Regulation.

Who will you learn with?

Research fellow EU projects/ PhD researcher at the University of Groningen working on privacy issues, in particular in healthcare.

PhD researcher and lecturer at the University of Groningen working on privacy issues, in particular in healthcare.

Professor of European Technology Law and Human Rights and Co-Leader of the STeP Research Team at the University of Groningen.

Who developed the course?

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe & save

Limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$109/one-off payment


Automatically renews


Fulfill your current learning needDevelop skills to further your careerSample the course materials
Access to this courseticktick

Access expires 29 Apr 2024

Access to 1,000+ coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Continue & Upgrade

Cancel for free anytime

Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 29 Apr 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...

You can use the hashtag #FLhealthdata to talk about this course on social media.