Alberta Health Services’ privacy office investigates after medical mail mix-up

A Calgary family received mail from Alberta Health Services that had another patient's medical information inside.
A Calgary family received mail from Alberta Health Services that had another patient's medical information inside. Contributed/Julie Gielau

A Calgary family is looking for answers after receiving mail from Alberta Health Services addressed to their daughter, but containing another person’s medical information.

Julie Gielau was referred by her doctor’s office to take her daughter, Brynn Kemble, to a pediatric gastroenterology (GI) clinic to test if she had celiac disease.

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

When they went to the GI clinic, Gielau was told they would receive the needed information, including date of appointment and location, by mail. When they received the mail, it was addressed to Brynn Kemble, but once Gielau opened the letter, she noticed something strange.

“It was a completely different child’s information,” Gielau said, “which included all of their health information — plus it was at a different hospital. We’re at the GI clinic at South Health campus. The other child is supposed to go to the GI clinic at the children’s hospital. It’s not even the same building.”

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Included in the letter was the name of the person, their date of birth, phone number, health-care number, and date of their scheduled appointment.

The first thing Gielau thought was, “Who has my daughter’s information?”

She contacted her clinic right away.

“All of her information is sitting in the hands of someone else,” Gielau said.

Gielau wants to make sure that this does not happen to another family and that her daughter’s information is retrieved.

“They’ll send me a new form, but that doesn’t help the situation that someone else has my daughter’s information still.”

READ MORE: Privacy breach at South Health Campus violated Alberta laws: commissioner

AHS was unaware of the issue at the time and has now placed AHS’ information and privacy office to investigate the problem.

“[We’re] going to make sure the person that has Julie’s information is found and that the information that Julie has is returned to the actual person,” AHS senior media relations advisor Bruce Conway said.

“That is paramount at the moment.”

AHS did not provide further details on the case.