DCH Health System notifies 2,530 patients whose records were improperly accessed by an employee

DCH Health System in Alabama has disclosed an insider-wrongdoing incident. If there’s anything positive or good-newsy in their disclosure, it’s that the problem was detected by a routine audit within 4 days of the improper access, and that within days of further investigation, they uncovered a history of similar improper access by the same employee and took firm action.

The types of data accessed improperly included patients’  name, address, date of birth, social security numbers, date of encounter, diagnoses, vital signs, medications, test results, and clinical/provider notes. DCH’s disclosure does not reveal what the employee’s job duties were. The employee was suspended immediately upon detection of the improper access, and then terminated within 24 hours after DCH discovered there had been a history of improper accesses by the employee.

But why it took until December 2022 for them to detect the improper access of 2,530 patients that had begun in September 2021 is not really explained. Clearly, it can be difficult to identify improper access if it happens only one or a few times. But more than 2500 times in a period of more than a year? Was DCH using the same auditing software back in September 2021 or is this relatively new for the system?

DCH’s full notice can be read on their website.

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