AHS notifies patients about ‘unacceptable and disappointing’ privacy breach

WATCH: Nearly 200 patients who accessed a southwest Calgary clinic are hearing their private health records may have been improperly accessed. Sarah Offin has details on another breach of Alberta Health Service’s online record system.

Alberta Health Services is alerting 178 patients that their health information was inappropriately accessed by a former AHS administrative employee.

READ MORE: AHS drops disciplinary action against nurses after alleged privacy breach

The private information was accessed between February to July of 2018 at Calgary’s Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre. They were done through Alberta Netcare, the provincial electronic health record system, and AHS’ Calgary Zone Clinibase system, which manages referrals, wait lists and other patient management services.

The incidents did not impact patient care nor accuracy of patient records, AHS said in a news release Friday.

READ MORE: AHS blamed for breach that saw thousands of patient files improperly accessed

Notifications were mailed to the 178 people on Oct. 24. Only affected patients will receive a letter.

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“This privacy breach is unacceptable and disappointing, especially given the extensive work AHS has done over the past several years to build awareness and understanding among staff of the importance of appropriately collecting, using, disclosing and protecting their health information,” said Todd Gilchrist, the health agency’s vice-president of privacy.

“Albertans trust us to safeguard their health and personal information.

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“Moreover, all AHS staff are required to act in accordance with Alberta’s privacy legislation, as well as AHS’ privacy and security policies.”

READ MORE: Thousands of Alberta patient files inappropriately accessed by former AHS employee

Gilchrist said AHS will be reinforcing the importance of appropriate access and keeping patient information safe.

AHS first became aware of the privacy breach during a “proactive Netcare audit” by Alberta Health.

A review of the audit by managers at the Calgary diagnostic centre and then several followup audits of the Clinibase system confirmed “multiple inappropriate accesses to diagnostic, treatment and care information had occurred.”

READ MORE: 247 patient records breached by AHS employee

AHS completed a thorough investigation into the accesses. The employee is no longer with the organization.

The incident has also been reported to Alberta Health and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPC).

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