Eastern Health announced this afternoon that two employees inappropriately accessed more than 46 patients’ records.
One employee has resigned; the other one was terminated.
"I assure our patients, clients and residents that we hold our responsibility as a custodian of personal health information as defined in the Personal Health Information Act in the highest regard,” Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski said in a news release. “As such, when we confirm there has been a deliberate breach of patient privacy and/or of the organization’s privacy and confidentiality policy, the necessary disciplinary action will be taken towards the offending employee. Eastern Health has a zero tolerance for any willful privacy breach that may occur."
The two employees were both clerks working at a rural clinic.
Eastern Health said that they’re continuing their investigation.
In announcing the new privacy breaches, Eastern Health emphasized the steps it takes to prevent this sort of thing from happening. The health authority has employees sign a confidentiality pledge or swear an oath. Eastern Health also does random audits to ensure that confidential information is only being used in appropriate ways.
Kaminski apologized to the patients whose privacy had been breached.
“It is quite disheartening when these breaches occur,” she said. “However, while we do continue to identify these serious breaches, it is my belief that the number of employees who inappropriately access patient records are in a minority. I also believe that because of the privacy breaches that have been disclosed publicly by health authorities in the province and the public discussion that has followed, it creates more awareness among all health care workers of the importance of maintaining the privacy of our patients, residents and clients.”