Thousands of Red Deer hospital patients’ records snooped in privacy breach: AHS

Alberta Health Services said thousands of patients' private health information was accessed during a privacy breach. Getty Images

Thousands of patients’ electronic health records being inappropriately accessed at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is being investigated by the Alberta privacy commissioner.

According to Alberta Health Services, the records of 3,227 patients at the health facility were accessed by two clerical employees in the diagnostic imaging department between October 2018 and October 2020.

AHS said one employee looked at the information of 3,147 patients, and the other peeped at the records of 77 patients.

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The information the employees looked at were of emergency patients, coworkers and family members, and included demographic information and clinical records. AHS said patient care or the accuracy of the records weren’t affected in the privacy breach.

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The Red Deer Regional Hospital Wednesday, March 16, 2015. Pat Carroll, Global News

Both employees no longer work for AHS, the health authority said.

“AHS takes the privacy and confidentiality of patient information seriously, and non-work related access to patient records is a clear breach of confidentiality and a direct violation of privacy and information security policies,” Central zone chief officer Janice Stewart said.

“We understand that patients trust AHS to appropriately access and safeguard their health and personal information.

“AHS remains fully committed to ensuring safeguards are in place to build this trust by preventing inappropriate access, use or disclosure of patient information.”

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

The affected patients are being notified by mail of the breach, with letters having gone out on April 12.

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“Only those individuals who receive letters were subject to this privacy breach,” AHS said.

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