Deloitte has just released its third Data Nation report and it reveals that respondents have greater trust in the NHS and the public sector when it comes to protecting its personal data than in other private sector industries. While public healthcare providers came in with the highest levels of trust (61%), social media companies (31%), internet providers (34%) and banks and credit card companies (39%) came in the lowest.
What’s ironic about these findings is that the technology that is used to keep that data safe – whether from the networks the data is transferred over, to the servers and data centres where its stored are all in the private sector. In fact, chances are that the same technology that is hosting patient records is hosting that person’s credit card information at their bank as well.
The report, which measures the public’s attitudes to data use and privacy in England, Wales and Scotland, also references that despite the trust, the public sector has in fact reported more data breaches to the Information Commisioner’s Offices than its private sector counterparts. Now this could just be bad reporting by the private sector (although the EU is in the process of changing reporting regulations), but you have to ask whether this trust is misplaced?
As a B2B tech PR agency we have lots of clients supplying technology to both the public and the private sector. So we want to know how is it that the NHS is better at building trust with users than a bank, gaming or even telephone company?
What we do know is a trusted brand does better commercially so it’s worth the private sector learning lessons from the public sector on being transparent about its service delivery.
We also think that maybe companies could offer service charters in the same vein as patient charters? Charters that give us the ability to seek financial recompense when service fall short of targets. I for one would be overjoyed to see interest on my credit card drop when the company concerned fails to answer my call within two minutes; or a block of free calls for every minute you’re on hold with the telephone company. That might get them to resource peak calling times better.
There must be lots of examples of where the NHS is delivering services better, and equally lots of examples of how we could keep companies accountable. Let us know your favourites.
Claire Lamb is a consultant at Skout. She’s worked in technology PR for 20 years and has survived more bubbles than Michael Jackson.