October 12, 2017 8:46 am

University Health Network investigating potential privacy breach

The University Health Network (UHN) is investigating a potential privacy breach which may have compromised patient records.

Mark McAllister / Global News
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The University Health Network (UHN) is investigating a potential privacy breach which may have compromised patient records.

A hospital spokesperson confirmed to Global News they have identified at least four cases where patient information was “misfiled.”

“The four confirmed privacy breaches have been in the Patient Results Online (PRO) shared system and in these cases UHN patient information was misfiled in another patient’s record,” UHN spokesperson Gillian Howard said.

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As a result of the breach, the UHN — which includes Princess Margaret, Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals — cut off patient information access from the provincial electronic medical records system on Oct. 4.

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“Our systems are fully operational within the hospital but we have closed access from outside the hospital until we have fully reviewed all of our logs and conducted a root cause analysis,” Howard said.

“No UHN records are available at this time while we go through our logs, ensure that the data is clean and then reload data. We anticipate that this work will take us through to the end of next week.”

The hospital network said they were initially alerted of the information breach by a patient who had a test appear on his online records that was never taken.

“A patient who had access to his own health record through myUHN (our patient portal which allows patients to see their records in real time) let us know that there was a document in their file which was not part of their care,” Howard said. “As soon as we were made aware, we began an investigation of the data.”

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Howard said the Information and Privacy Commissioner has been notified of these breaches, including all the patients whose identifiable information was misfiled.

“We are currently tracking through our logs which allow us to accurately recreate the data presented to clinicians and tracking how many times this might have occurred but do not have the data at this time,” Howard said.

“When we do, a clinical team will be going through the data to determine what contacts and actions will need to happen.”

Hospital officials said patients who are concerned about any health diagnosis in their medical file should contact their doctor directly.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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