Privacy office warns on health records

Saskatchewan's Privacy Commissioner says health officials must take better care of patient records.
Gary Dickson said he was astonished by what he found in a Regina recycling bin March 23. ((CBC))
Saskatchewan's Privacy Commissioner says health officials must take better care of patient records.

Information and Privacy Commissioner Gary Dickson issued the official advisory Monday after a series of incidents in which patient health records were found in dumpsters or were improperly secured.

"The Advisory is a response to a troubling number of incidents involving the personal health information of patients that has not been properly stored or destroyed," Dickson said, adding his office is completing a probe into the March 23 discovery of thousands of patient records in a Regina recycling bin.

Despite widespread media coverage of the resulting investigation, the privacy office has received reports of four other cases where personal health information was found in dumpsters or compromised.

The commissioner said Saskatchewan health organizations should immediately implement steps to ensure privacy of health records and shred or destroy records that are no longer being kept.