195 NWT health cards mailed to wrong addresses
No privacy concerns from spreadsheet sorting error, says deputy minister
The Northwest Territories Department of Health mailed 195 health care cards to the wrong addresses due to a spreadsheet sorting error, but the deputy minister says there are no privacy concerns associated with the mistake.
Debbie DeLancey, deputy minister of health, says the error happened earlier this summer when staff sorted information in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet incorrectly.
DeLancy says the error affected a small fraction of the 40,000 people who have health coverage in the territory.
"It might create confusion in terms of record, but unless they're not an N.W.T. resident, in which case we're paying for services we wouldn't normally pay for, there's not a huge financial risk to the government and that person is not accessing that person's record."
She says it would be unlikely people would use someone else's card to try to get his or her medical history.
"There's actually not a lot of personal information on a health care card other than your name, your address and obviously your health card number. If I received your card, I really wouldn't be able to use it to create an identity or steal an identity."
DeLancey says as a result of the incident, they've reduced the number of people who work on those health card files that contain personal data.
The territory's privacy commissioner only investigates issues if someone files a written complaint. No one has filed a complaint about the misdirected health cards.