Ca: Privacy of Rob Ford’s medical records breached by third hospital

Olivia Carville reports:

Health professionals have been caught snooping into former mayor Rob Ford’s medical records in four separate privacy breaches in at least three Toronto hospitals, the Star has learned.

Last Wednesday, the University Health Network (UHN) notified the provincial privacy commissioner of a fourth breach of Ford’s medical records since his shocking cancer diagnosis last September.

Acting privacy commissioner Brian Beamish said in a written statement that the latest privacy violation was “extremely troubling” because it meant the earlier breaches had clearly not acted as a deterrent to nosy employees.

[…]

The Star can now confirm Ford’s medical file was also snooped into by UHN hospital staff last September — and his records were targeted again by seven UHN staff at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre last week.

Read more on Toronto Star.

It seems that it’s only the celebrity patient cases where snooping makes the media, but this type of snooping is an all-too-frequent problem here, too. If one reads through the complaints submitted to the California Department of Public Health – most of which never make the media – you’ll see repeated instances of employees snooping in patients’ records. Changes in HIPAA and enforcement have resulted in hospitals doing a better job of detecting unauthorized access, but it’s not clear to me whether there’s really been any overall significant progress  in preventing the problem – even though we now see reports of staff being fired for such infractions and even though some firms now offer software to help prevent problems.

 

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