120 patients affected in Capital Health breach
Nova Scotia's largest health board is reporting a privacy breach involving the health records of 120 patients over a six-year period.
Capital District Health Authority spokesman John Gillis said Tuesday the records were inappropriately accessed by an unnamed former employee of the Hants Community Hospital.
"They would have been viewed electronically by a person who didn't have justification to view them," he said.
Gillis said the woman worked as a clerk who booked appointments for patients.
He said the breaches occurred between 2005 and last fall. Capital Health began an investigation last October after concerns were raised by other hospital staff members.
Gillis said an audit was conducted after 15 cases were initially brought to light. That audit flagged another 105 cases.
"Initially those 15 cases came to our attention, and based on those we had a look through her history of access and found the additional cases," said Gillis.
Gillis said the woman was on leave at the time and left her job in January before the additional breaches were found.
He wouldn't say whether she was fired, but said Capital Health reserves the right to terminate employment in cases where serious privacy breaches occur.
"We're satisfied at this point that we've identified every inappropriate access associated with this individual, so right now we are contacting each person who has been affected," Gillis said.
Meanwhile, the health district issued an apology in a statement.
"We apologize to all of those people whose private information was viewed and to the community at large," said Catherine Gaulton, vice-president of performance excellence.
"We are extremely disappointed that these breaches occurred. As an organization, we value integrity and accountability and we remain confident in the ethical practices of employees throughout our organization. With rare exception, our confidence is rewarded."
Capital Health provides health services to nearly half a million people in Halifax and surrounding area.