Ca: North Bay Regional Health Centre notifies 5,800 patients of inappropriate access of their records

Via, a North Bay Regional Health Centre News Release:

A breach of privacy relating to personal health information has occurred at the North Bay Regional Health Centre affecting roughly 5,800 patients. “Any information collected during a stay at the hospital is considered personal health information,” says Chief Privacy Officer, Marc Bouchard. “For example it can include a patient’s name, address, diagnosis, test results and prescribed drugs.”

The breach was discovered during a privacy audit. As a result of further investigation, it was determined that an employee of the hospital accessed health information for persons other than those with whom the employee was involved in providing care, dating back to 2004. The results of the investigation lead us to believe that the information inappropriately accessed by this employee was not released to other staff or beyond the hospital. The actions of this individual are a violation of the law on privacy and hospital policy. The Ontario College of Nurses and Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario have been informed of the breach.

“As required by section 12(2) of the Personal Health Information Protection Act we have contacted each individual affected patient directly to inform them of the breach of their personal health information,” states Bouchard. “This means, if you do not receive a letter in the mail, your personal health information was not accessed inappropriately.”

Bouchard expresses sincere regrets for this situation to the affected individuals. “We would also like to assure everyone that patient care was never negatively affected as a result of this incident.”

The North Bay Regional Health Centre takes its role of safeguarding personal health information very seriously and has immediately taken measures to improve the security of access to personal health information and provide additional education to employees regarding the protection and privacy of personal health information. More rigorous audits to detect attempts to inappropriately access health care information have also been implemented.

It is the health centre’s goal to ensure that necessary health information is readily available to appropriate caregivers to ensure patient safety and quality of care, but that it is not disclosed beyond the circle of care-givers.

The North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) is a modern new health facility providing acute care hospital services to North Bay and surrounding communities and specialized mental health services to all of northeast Ontario. A busy Emergency Room serves over 50,000 patients annually; outpatient clinics and services annually serve over 40,000 patients and the centre’s diagnostic imaging and surgical services are provided in a state-of-the-art environment.

NBRHC inpatient specialized mental health services are located in North Bay and Sudbury (Kirkwood Place) and provides outpatient and outreach mental health services throughout the region.

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