Privacy breach of patient records in Prince Albert health region

Most of Saskatchewan's medical records have gone electronic but there are still many doctors who aren't using the eHealth system.
File photo. A privacy breach involving a “small number of patients” has been reported by the Prince Albert health region. Sean Lerat-Stetner / Global News

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – A privacy breach of patient records is being investigated in Prince Albert, Sask. Officials with the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region (PAPHR) say an employee accessed the personal health information of a “small number of patients.”

Those patients affected have been notified by the region about the specific details of the privacy breach. The Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, eHealth Saskatchewan and the Minister of Health have also been informed.

The breach came to light in December 2014. Officials say they immediately undertook a detailed and lengthy investigation which revealed the breaches, involving 16 patients, took place between Jan. 10, 2014 and Dec. 9, 2014.

It found an employee not providing care to those patients, or who could not be confirmed as providing care, viewed health information, including prescription and lab information.

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Officials say discipline action has been taken against the employee and reports have been filed with the applicable professional licensing body.

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“Protecting the privacy of our patients is a duty we take very seriously,” said PAPHR CEO Cecile Hunt.

Hunt said the region is taking action to prevent privacy breaches from happening again which will include increased monitoring and auditing of the eHR Viewer program and increasing employee education.

The investigation included an audit of the eHR Viewer, which is an electronic health record for Saskatchewan health-care providers. It includes laboratory, prescription, diagnostic imaging, and immunization information and clinical documentation.

Officials say personal health information within the eHR Viewer is secure, allows the ability to identify inappropriate access and identify the person accessing records.