Thursday, February 25, 2021

Privacy breach at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) officials say during a recent routine audit of patient electronic health records, the CKHA discovered that an employee accessed a number of health records without an apparent valid reason to do so.

CKHA immediately launched an investigation which revealed that this employee inappropriately accessed the records of approximately 40 patients.

Given the lack of pattern to the employee’s access, hospital officials say they determined this is a case of random snooping due to curiosity.

CKHA can also confirm that the employee did not copy or print the health records that were inappropriately accessed.

“CKHA is committed to patient centred care and preserving patients’ trust in the care they are receiving and the staff providing that care,” stated Lori Marshall, president and CEO, in a press release.

“We regret that this privacy breach happened. We will continue the routine auditing of patient electronic health records and look forward to the implementation of a new electronic record system in Fall of 2020 that will automate the auditing capabilities and strengthen CKHA’s ability to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patients.”

Employees are bound by professional and legal obligations to respect patient privacy and, in addition, CKHA requires all employees to sign confidentiality agreements, hospital officials say.

CKHA reported this privacy breach to the employee’s professional college and the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC).

The employee is no longer working for CKHA, hospital officials say.

Those affected have received a notification letter by mail or will receive one shortly.

CKHA has invited affected individuals to contact our Privacy Officer with any questions they may have.

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