NZ: Breach confirms TestSafe privacy fears

Jodi Yeats reports:

A data breach in Auckland’s controversial regional lab tests repository has confirmed health sector fears about regional databases.

A phone call from a patient in late May alerted Auckland regional DHBs to privacy breaches in Auckland’s controversial regional community laboratory results repository, TestSafe, affecting 150 patients.

The patient was attending an outpatient clinic when a doctor referred to test results her GP had ordered. The patient knew the consultant shouldn’t be able to see her results, because she had phoned the 0800 LABSAFE number and requested all her test results be suppressed.

The patient phoned the DHB hotline to report the problem and an investigation ensued that traced the problem to a technical fault, TestSafe spokesperson Ross Boswell says.

The fault, which meant the lab result reports that should have been identified as “able to be suppressed” weren’t marked as such, was remedied within a couple of days, Dr Boswell says.

The DHBs (Auckland, Coun-ties Manukau and Waitemata) notified medical organisations, and the privacy commissioner then sent letters to the 150 patients affected and their health providers, apologising and saying they could see who has viewed their results if they wished.

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