Calgary

AHS warns 7,000 patients their personal health information compromised in email hack

Alberta Health Services is notifying about 7,000 patients that their health information may have been compromised when a physician’s Gmail account was hacked.

Physician used Gmail in breach of privacy protection regulations

Alberta Health Services is notifying about 7,000 patients that their health information may have been compromised when a physician's Gmail account was hacked.

The doctor working at the Richmond Road Diagnostic Centre in Calgary improperly used a private account to transmit health information, AHS said in a release on Thursday.

Under AHS policy, doctors and staff are required to use AHS secure email when communicating personally identifiable health information and to use encryption when the recipient does not have an AHS account.

"Unfortunately, these policies were not followed in this instance, which underscores the need for AHS to do further work to educate physicians and staff about this vitally important practice," said Dr. Francois Belanger, chief medical officer.

"While this privacy breach was unintentional and is deeply regretted by the physician, that does not in any way diminish the seriousness of the matter."

There is no evidence to suggest that affected patients' information has been accessed by the hacker, the agency says.

AHS has advised the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) about the incident. Calgary police are also investigating.

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