A case containing 67 patients' personal health information was stolen from an on-duty nurse's parked vehicle on Jan. 14, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said Tuesday
The records were printed health summaries that included the name, health number, address, health conditions and medications of each patient, said Réal Cloutier, the WRHA's chief operating officer.
"On behalf of the Winnipeg health region we apologize to the clients whose health information has been stolen," said Cloutier.
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The nurse was working part-time for the WRHA's Community Intravenous Program when the data was stolen. It appears she broke the WRHA's rules for handling and storing sensitive documents.
"Our policies are very clear. Client information is not to remain in a car," said Cloutier. Home care workers and nurses frequently travel with patient summaries; however, they are expected to always carry the information with them on their person, he said.
All 67 patients whose information was stole were informed by Jan. 23 of the breach, said Cloutier. The WRHA warned them there is a low risk their personal information can be used for identity fraud.
"Our expectation is that someone who took the bag was probably looking for other things, not client information. We're going to make an assumption that information was discarded along with the bag," said Cloutier.
Each of the patients were notified of the incident and provided additional contact information should they have any further questions or concerns, said the WRHA in a news release.
The WRHA added it takes patient privacy "very seriously" and all its staff attends obligatory training to protect patient privacy.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has reported the theft to police.
Any disciplinary action taken against the nurse will take into account their history and the extent of the breach, said Cloutier.