As hotels reopen for business amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many travelers are eager to get “back to normal.” However, hospitality’s new normal is requiring many establishments to gather personal health data on consumers – something that was never needed or even considered prior to the pandemic. However, without the proper privacy procedures in place, guests and hotels may be unwittingly making private health information available to unknown entities and violating serious laws in the process. To learn more about this topic, HT spoke with Dan Clarke, president at IntraEdge.
When it comes to health data, why do hotels need to be careful with storing/sharing staff and guest data?
While the current pandemic permits taking temperatures and asking sensitive health questions, and it is a good idea as part of your measures, this permission does not exempt a hotel from compliance laws regarding the sensitive nature of health data, and this tends to be new ground for companies thus mandating careful measures. Hotels could unintentionally create additional privacy and compliance issues for themselves by storing sensitive data or broadcasting information that is protected by privacy and HIPAA compliance. This goes beyond storing results, even the actual temperature itself being inadvertently broadcast in a hotel lobby could be problematic.