Former AHS clerk fined for improperly accessing health records 21 times ‘out of curiosity’


A former registration and staffing clerk with Alberta Health Services has been fined $3,000 after pleading guilty last month to accessing individuals’ health information in contravention of the Health Information Act.

On Wednesday, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) said its investigation found Deborah Nimco, who had been working at the Athabasca Health Care Centre, had snooped on the health information of a number of people including her co-workers, relatives and friends. According to the OIPC, “many, if not all, of the unauthorized accesses were done by Nimco out of curiosity.”

In 2015, AHS reported a health information breach after it found 279 alleged instances of Nimco improperly accessing health records. AHS also notified people affected by the privacy breach and the OIPC subsequently received 10 complaints from those impacted.

An investigation zeroed in on 28 of the alleged privacy breaches, however, only 21 were considered for prosecution as the others did not fall into the two-year limitation period set under the Health Information Act.

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According to the OIPC, Nimco resigned from her position as the investigation got underway and she was later charged in January 2017.

READ MORE: Former AHS supervisor convicted of ‘inappropriately’ accessing health information

The case marks the seventh conviction since the Health Information Act was enacted in 2001, and the second conviction in 2017, according to the OIPC.