Possible privacy breach investigated in Northwest Territories

Arlene JorgensenINUVIK, NT – Beaufort Delta Health and Social Services has hired two investigators to look into a potential data breach of patients’ confidential health records by employees at the Inuvik Hospital. The health authority says an internal audit showed a possible information breach of electronic records by a small number of its employees.

The health authority serves about 6,700 residents in the Beaufort-Delta region. Arlene Jorgensen (pictured), the authority’s CEO, said the audit was launched after a patient complained in October. She said they immediately contained the risk and secured patient information.

“I just want to reiterate that at this point in time it is an alleged breach,” said Jorgensen. “We haven’t had the investigators back yet. So we are really waiting for the investigators to provide the report to us to really verify what has gone on and if there had been actual breaches.”

The health authority says it can’t reveal any specifics about the possible breach until the outside investigators report on their findings.

“The concerns that we have aren’t about people speaking outside the organization or breaching confidentiality in that way. It’s about individuals inappropriately viewing information and I think that’s an important distinction to make,” said Jorgensen.

“Even within the organization … employees should only have access to information that they need in the scope of their duties.”

If the investigation confirms inappropriate handling of hospital records, the health authority said it will immediately notify patients. The results of the investigation are expected March 31.

The office of the N.W.T.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner also confirms it has been notified.

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