Winnipeg hospital records improperly shared via fax

Linda Rock looks at the private medical files of other people that are being mistakenly faxed to her home. Global News

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg woman has been faxed hospital forms containing the personal medical information of patients.

Linda Rock has no professional association with the health care field but says she has been receiving what look like referral forms from Health Sciences Centre for the past year.

“I’m very disturbed that I’m seeing other people’s medical information. If I was the patient knowing that this was going to someone else’s house, I would be horrified,” she said.

The forms appear to be referral requests for occupational therapy sent from HSC to St. Boniface General Hospital.

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They contain sensitive personal information like names, addresses, phone numbers and provincial health numbers and also detailed medical information like injury history, diseases and social risk factors like how much the patient smokes and drinks alcohol.

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Rock said the forms began arriving in her fax machine inbox about a year ago.

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She tried several times to contact officials at HSC and eventually spoke with an employee who assured her the faxes would stop.

They did for several months, said Rock, but in February they began arriving again.

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“You would think they would be extra careful if it had happened once but for it start again, that’s crazy,” said Rock.

Rock is concerned people who are waiting for referrals to go through may not be getting the care they need and is calling on the Health Sciences Centre to correct the problem.

“I just want the Health Sciences Centre to fix it, to quit faxing to numbers that they have no idea whose they are,” she said.

In a written statement to Global News the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority apologized to the patients who had their information shared in the breach.

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The cause was an incorrect fax number on a contact listing.

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“We will contact any patients whose information was inappropriately shared to advise them of the breach, and to apologize for mistakenly sharing their personal information. We will also ensure that their information gets to its intended destination so that they receive appropriate care,” read the statement.

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