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‘It just makes me sick’: Shuswap patient receives someone else’s medical records

A patient in the Salmon Arm area was surprised to receive somebody else's private medical information.

A Shuswap woman was stunned when her husband received an envelope from Interior Health with somebody else’s medical records inside.

“It just makes me sick. He’s stressed out; I’m stressed out. I’m sure this person would be horrified,” Marina Johnston said.

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Johnston said her husband had been waiting for a specialist’s referral and needed to fill out some forms.

“It looks like somebody’s taken another person’s file and stapled it to the cover letter for my husband,” she said.

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Johnston said the forms, which appeared to be mailed out by the Salmon Arm Health Medical Centre, show what should be highly-confidential information about the patient’s medical condition.

“Including date of birth, address, medications for whatever ailments this person is suffering from, a lot of personal information,” she said. “It’s seven pages altogether.”

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Johnston said she’s concerned about the carelessness of the mistake and wants to see more measures put in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“If we have another person’s information, who has ours?” she asked. “I’m just very uncomfortable and disappointed in the whole confidentiality of our medical information,” she added.

ICBC documents containing personal information abandoned in Burnaby
ICBC documents containing personal information abandoned in Burnaby

Interior Health refused to do an interview but sent an email saying there have been 22 confirmed privacy breaches in the first six months of this fiscal year.

“When any potential privacy breach is reported, Interior Health follows an established standard process to substantiate and if necessary investigate, correct the cause and notify impacted individuals and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner as required by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,” spokesperson Karl Hardt said.

All Interior Health staff also take annual information privacy and security training, he added.

“As with any people-based system, errors can occur – our priority is to work with our staff on an ongoing basis to avoid this from happening,” Hardt said.