Five employees fired this year over confidentiality breaches
Eastern Health CEO and President Vickie Kaminski speaks with reporters at the G. B. Cross Memorial Hospital in Clarenville today about a breach of confidentiality. — Photo by Ross Mair, TC Media
Eastern Health has terminated a St. John’s nurse after confidential information about a patient was being passed around the patient’s neighbourhood.
Five employees have been terminated from by Eastern Health this year in the wake confidentiality breaches.
The latest breach of confidentiality occurred when a nurse who worked for Eastern Health inappropriately accessed the medical records of 122 patients at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s.
The information came to light after one of the victim’s neighbours informed her that her personal information had been circulating the neighbourhood and was told who the source was.
"It was brought forward in the last several days from a former patient who said she heard in the community from somebody who had information about her who shouldn't have, and that the source was this particular employee," Kaminski said today.
The nurse had been employed with Eastern Health for 10 years and was fired on Tuesday.
Kaminski said it was a case of an employee abusing the powers of information they possessed.
More coverage in Thursday’s print edition of The Telegram
Eastern Health announced today it is in the process of contacting 122 people who had their medical records inappropriately accessed by an employee, who has since been fired.
Eastern Health CEO and President Vickie Kaminski said the organization takes health information privacy seriously.
“As such, when we identify a deliberate breach of patient privacy, we take action to discipline the offending employee. While the severity of the discipline is determined by the seriousness of the breach, there is zero tolerance for willful breaches of patient privacy,” she said.
All patients impacted by the information breach have been identified, and a process for contacting the patients has been established, states Eastern Health in a news release.
"On behalf of Eastern Health, I want to publicly apologize to all of the patients whose privacy has been breached," said Kaminski. "It is quite disheartening when these breaches occur. However, it is my belief that the majority of employees take privacy and confidentiality very seriously."
Eastern Health employees sign a confidentiality oath, and the organization performs random audits of employee access to patient records.
The health organization states it will be enhancing privacy protection through the use of new electronic auditing software that is in the process of being installed.
The new software, states Eastern Health, will make it easier and faster to identify inappropriate access to personal health information.