South Edmonton medical clinic employee fined after admitting to health data breaches

The Terwillegar Family Clinic, located at 1729 Towne Centre Blvd, in southwest Edmonton, Alta. Google Streetview

An office assistant has been fined for snooping into two people’s health records while she was an employee at a southwest Edmonton medical clinic.

On Sept. 26, Glenda Garcia admitted in provincial court that she looked at the data on numerous occasions without a valid reason, which is a violation of the Health Information Act (HIA).

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It happened at the Terwillegar Family Clinic, located at 1729 Towne Centre Blvd. in Terwillegar Towne, where she was formerly employed.

The two people became suspicious when Garcia made comments to them about personal health details.

They asked to see a record of who had logged into their electronic health information via Alberta Netcare — the provincial electronic health record system — and subsequently complained to the province’s privacy commissioner.

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An investigation led to charges against Garcia in March.

Garcia was fined a total of just over $4,000: $3,500, plus a victim fine surcharge of $525.

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It is an offence under the Health Information Act to knowingly gain or attempt to gain access to private medical records.

The province said this was the third conviction this year against an individual for knowingly accessing health information in contravention of HIA. There have been 12 convictions in total since 2001.

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This case marked only the second time in which a victim fine surcharge was issued against the convicted, the province said, adding it helps fund victim services such as counselling.

— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News

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