Patient information compromised at CKHA

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Seven OR patients notified of privacy issue

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance still isn’t sure how an operating room report wound up on someone’s lawn earlier this year, but is taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Lori Marshall, president and CEO of the alliance, said a record containing some health information listed on a copy of an operating room report was found on the front lawn of a community member on March 6.

The information on the paper contained name, date of birth, age, health card number, patient phone number, procedure and surgeon name for seven patients from the CKHA.

Marshall said the alliance investigated to see what happened, but was left scratching its collective head.

“We’re still not sure after having done our investigation. We can’t pinpoint where the report actually came from,” she said. “We believe it was someone cleaning out some old files and putting them in the garbage. It was apparently a windy day that day and this report ended up on someone’s lawn.”

There appears to be no malicious intent or compromise to patient personal health information, according to hospital officials. Each of the seven patients listed on the sheet of paper were notified of the breach.

Marshall said the alliance has taken steps to minimize a recurrence.

“We’ve reinforced for our staff and our physicians that the practice ought to be that if the information is available electronically, we encourage people to view it electronically,” she said. “If it does have to be printed out, it should be shredded on hospital property; it should not leave hospital property.”

Marshall stressed the alliance respects patient confidentiality.

“We are committed to patient confidentiality and patient safety at CKHA. This is an unfortunate situation and we apologize to those patients affected. We are confident that after a thorough investigation we have implemented practices and procedures which will circumvent this in the future,” Marshall said. “It is our responsibility to notify the Information Privacy Commissioner and we did so as soon as we were made aware of the breach.”
If a patient has any concerns, he or she is asked to contact the CKHA privacy office, Jackie Smith at jsmith@ckha.on.ca or 519-352-6401 ext. 5231.

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