The Northwest Territories’ privacy commissioner says Yellowknife Health and Social Services needs to change how it handles patients' medical records.

Right now, all staff members who rotate between the two Yellowknife primary care clinics have varying levels of access to patients’ electronic health records.

Elaine Keenan-Bengts

N.W.T. Privacy Commissioner Elaine Keenan-Bengts has released a report with eight recommendations on how to improve patient privacy. (CBC)

"The problem is that there are so many people who have access to these records, and Yellowknife is such a small town," said Elaine Keenan-Bengts.

"If there are 150 people working for Yellowknife Health and Social Services and I can only go to Yellowknife Health and Social Services to get primary care, which is the way it is, then I can guarantee you that some of those 150 people are going to know me or know my friends and will have access to my medical health information and I don't necessarily want that."

Keenan-Bengts said there are supposed to be filters that limit who has access to sensitive information.

She has released a report with eight recommendations on how to improve patient privacy.

One of her suggestions is to develop health privacy legislation. She says most southern jurisdictions already have laws like this in place.