Island Health privacy breach affects 198 people

Close to 200 people have had their health records accessed in the largest Vancouver Island Health Authority privacy breach to date.

Close to 200 people across Canada have had their health records accessed in the largest Vancouver Island Health Authority privacy breach to date.

Island Health became aware of the breach after a routine audit in April to monitor the legitimacy of staff access to patient records. Shortly after, an investigation was launched and the B.C. Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner was notified.

Earlier this week, Island Health confirmed two employees in Victoria gained access to the personal demographic information including the age, name, and addresses of 198 individuals, many of whom were family friends, coworkers and public celebrities both from the region and those who came to the Island from other parts of Canada seeking medical care.

Kathy MacNeil, executive vice president, quality safety and experience with Island Health, said she is “deeply sorry” to the patients whose privacy was compromised.

“We are profoundly disappointed that the actions of these two individuals violate the values and high ethical standards that we all strive for at Island Health” she said. “Patient privacy and confidentiality is a high priority at Island Health and one that we take very seriously . . . we regret that this happened and we continue to review our practices to ensure privacy is upheld.”

The two individuals, one who had been with Island Health since 2012 and the other since 2013, have since been fired. They were non-clinical support staff that supported clinical teams.

MacNeil said they did not have a requirement to access that information as part of their role, adding she couldn’t speculate on a motive for why the individuals accessed the information, nor could she say if family and friends consented to have the individuals access their private information.

Roughly 85 per cent of individuals who have had their privacy breached have been notified by a phone call or letter and Island Health is in the process of contacting the remaining individuals.

This isn’t the first privacy breach at Island Health.

In November 2014, two employees accessed the electronic health records of 112 individuals in order to “satisfy their curiosity” about patients. Both were caught and let go after the fact, following a month-long internal investigation.

Island Health maintained it is providing ongoing educations and awareness for staff and physicians related to privacy.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

Three people sent to hospital following serious crash in View Royal

Incident involved a motorcycle and one vehicle on Sunday afternoon

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

Province recognizes three Greater Victoria residents for work to combat racism

The three residents were recognized during the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read