Sask. Cancer Agency employees may have snooped on 48 patients

The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency says it has disciplined two employees after the health records of 48 people were apparently snooped on.

2 workers have been disciplined, agency says

Scott Livingstone is president of the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. (CBC)

The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency says it has disciplined two employees after the health records of 48 people were apparently snooped on.

The agency said Monday that it began investigating after learning of the breaches May 13. 

"This is something that we're not proud of," Scott Livingstone, president of the agency, said. "We are going to work very hard to rebuild patient's trust and ensure that patients are confident that their records are being accessed only by staff when they're being cared for and within that circle of care on a need to know basis."

The Allan Blair Cancer Centre is one of the facilities operated by the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. (Allan Blair Cancer Centre)

The information viewed included an individual's name, address, phone number, date of birth, health services number as well as information about diagnostic tests, medical exams, clinical results, diagnoses and physician names, the agency said.

"Obviously we weren't doing enough to protect patient privacy and we are going to change that," Livingstone said.

The employees did not look at the information as part of their jobs, the agency said, adding it also informed all the people involved of the breach to their privacy.

It has also notified the province's information and privacy commissioner.

The agency did not say what disciplinary actions were taken.

Livingstone said there was no no malicious intent involved, no gain to the employees and no one's care was affected. He said the two workers are still with the agency and are in roles where they have access to patient information.

He said the investigation involved asking each employee to explain why they had looked at the records. No explanations were provided.

Saskatchewan's privacy commissioner has urged health authorities to do a better job protecting patient information.


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