Fi: Data protection breached most often by nosy co-workers

The other day I posted something about data protection of healthcare records in Finland. That report indicated that breaches in the private healthcare sector were more common than in the public healthcare sector. Today’s Helsinki Times discusses the Ombudsman’s report and sheds some additional light on the nature and extent of breaches there:

“Disputes in the workplace or mere curiosity are often behind the illegal accessing of personal healthcare records, according to the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman.”

The usual story is that someone wants to know why a co-worker is off work. Workplace harassment also played a part in the cases that came to light. Physicians are rarely guilty of disclosing confidential information, while members of the ancillary staff are often to blame.

Happily, the Helsinki Times coverage answers a question I had raised in my previous blog entry:

About 20 cases annually are presented to the Data Protection Ombudsman.

Read more in the Helsinki Times.

Twenty cases per year? Finland’s population is between 5 and 6 million. That would translate out to over 1200 per year for a population of over 300 million. Dennis Melamed, who compiles statistics on complaints, reports that HHS has received 5,824 HIPAA complaints this year already.

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