Monday, November 28, 2011

Police Probe Medical Records Stalker

Following patient privacy breaches affecting several hospitals in the Lothian region of Scotland, in which dozens of health care staff were disciplined, Scottish police are now investigating a case in which a patient was stalked by a worker.

A janitor working at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, one of Scotland’s largest hospitals, has been accused of contacting a patient via email and via her Facebook account. The janitor has admitted using hospital computers to access the woman’s medical records, which he used to obtain her contact information and pursue her online.

The day after receiving treatment for a broken hand, she received a Facebook friendship request with the accompanying message: “Btw if ur wonderin who i am, i was checkin u out yest :) ha hows the hand?X”

In all the woman received five messages, including one pleading with her not to pursue an investigation.
“I was really upset when I read the e-mail,” she said. “I didn’t know who he was, what he was capable of, or whether he also knew my address and telephone number. I didn’t know if he was just going to turn up at the house. It’s just wrong in so many ways.”
Chairwoman Margaret Watt of the Scottish Patients Authority called for an investigation: “Workers should not have access to patient files…This has hugely overstepped the mark. It means there is no safety if people like this can go and read files.”
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Sources:
Police probe hospital patient privacy breach - The Scotsman, November 25, 2011

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