The hospital in the Municipality of Trent Hills says it “discovered and confirmed” two employees had “inappropriately” accessed patient information affecting approximately 500 individuals. Both employees have been “dismissed.”
The hospital did not indicate the employees’ roles or what patient data they accessed. All patients involved in the breaches have been notified by mail, the hospital said.
Global News Peterborough requested additional information, but the hospital said no further details would be released.
“We are very disappointed that these privacy breaches have occurred,” said Eric Hanna, the hospital’s interim president and CEO.
“Patients expect us to protect their information and it is very unfortunate that we did not do so in this case. We apologize to everyone whose information was inappropriately accessed.”
The hospital says it is working with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario on the breaches and says at no point was patient information accessed by anyone outside the hospital.
“As healthcare providers, our CMH team understands that patient privacy is a fundamental principle of delivering good care, and our organization takes the role of protecting personal information very seriously,” Hanna said.
Hanna said the hospital has training and policies in place regarding patient confidentiality, including that staff and physicians cannot access patient information unless they are currently involved in that patient’s circle of care.
Hanna said the hospital is revisiting and strengthening its patient privacy education and training to prevent further incidents.
Actions being taken include:
- enhancing the patient privacy section of the hospital’s general orientation training
- updating privacy e-learning modules for all staff
- an upcoming “Ethics Round” at the hospital, led by a regional ethicist, will focus on privacy
- developing training about the circle of care and privacy that will be delivered on the units
The hospital in December 2021 rolled out a new electronic record system which the hospital said increased auditing capabilities and enhances the ability to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patients.