Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nova Scotia Healthcare Worker Violated Privacy of 120 Patients Over 6 Years (Update)

We have an update on the employee of Nova Scotia's largest health board who admitted to breaching the privacy of 120 patients over 6 years.

After her story became public she went on television to appologize for viewing the private medical files of family and friends by saying "I'm not particularly proud of what I've done. I know it was wrong".
"When asked why she looked at the files, she said, "Plain and simple, the information was there. So easy." - health board Employee
We now know the healthcare organization started an investigation when the perpetrator made an off-hand remark to a nurse about checking her father's records and the nurse reported the breach.

The patient data privacy breaches were accomplished in spite of all the policies and systems put in place to prevent it.
"If someone is going to disregard policy and access records inappropriately, we can't block that in the end." - John Gillis, spokesman for the organization
But you can effectively catch people who disregard policy and access records inappropriately. Download a a white paper on patient privacy breach detection. Learn how to proactively identify unauthorized breaches of patient data privacy, even by authorized users - with no hardware and no on-site software.

The employee's estranged sister-in-law, doesn't buy the apology or the explanation. She said, "We feel from a civil point of view that [Health Board] hasn't done due diligence. They were aware that [the employee] was looking into our medical files and copying, printing and taking home for years and it has done absolutely nothing to stop it."
"If [the health board] was to do a full audit on all employees, it'd be hard to find a few that had never at one point or another, that never did this." - health board Employee
11 of the patients whose medical privacy was violated others are planning a lawsuit against the health board.

Sources:
(a) Former Capital Health worker sorry for privacy breach - CBC News, February 14, 2012
(a) Capital Health doesn't look for privacy breaches - CBC News, February 16, 2012

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