Privacy Breaches at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance
CHATHAM-KENT: March 30, 2022 – During a recent routine audit of patient electronic health records, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) discovered that two employees accessed a number of health records without an apparent valid reason to do so. CKHA immediately launched an investigation which revealed that these employees inappropriately accessed the records of approximately 120 patients. Based on the result of the investigation and given the lack of pattern to the inappropriate accesses, it was determined these are cases of random snooping due to curiosity. CKHA can also confirm that the employees did not copy or print the health records that were inappropriately accessed. Snooping is unacceptable and the employees no longer work for CKHA.
“CKHA is committed to patient centred care and preserving patients’ trust in the care they are receiving and the staff providing that care,” said Lori Marshall, President and CEO, CKHA. “We regret that these privacy breaches happened. We will continue the routine auditing of patient electronic health records.”
CKHA provides staff education with annual privacy training in addition to annual Hospital Information System (Cerner) training. The hospital will be also be implementing further privacy education through its internal communication tools.
In November 2020, CKHA’s new electronic record system was implemented which now provides the hospital with enhanced auditing capabilities and strengthens the ability to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patients. This includes the specific auditing tools that help the Privacy Office ensure appropriate use of records. Employees are bound by professional and legal obligations to respect patient privacy and, in addition, CKHA requires all employees to sign confidentiality agreements.
CKHA has reported these privacy breaches to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC). CKHA has notified individuals affected via mail. The hospital has invited those individuals to contact its Privacy Officer, Melissa Johnson at 519.352.6401 extension 6316 with any questions they may have.
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) is a 200 bed community hospital, serving the residents of Chatham and rural Kent including Walpole Island and Delaware First Nations. Formed in 2018, CKHA is committed to delivering quality and safe care at its two sites in Chatham and Wallaceburg. CKHA collaborates with other partners to deliver care across its community. CKHA’s dedicated team is comprised of approximately 1,400 staff, 200 physicians and 300 volunteers. CKHA provides a full range of programs, services and specialties from internal medicine and surgery to women & children’s and critical care; it is designated a schedule one facility under the Ministry of Health and cares for tens of thousands of inpatients, outpatients and emergency patients annually. CKHA is equipped with state of the art diagnostics and technology to support its varied programs. CKHA’s vision: Together, growing a healthier community, underscores a movement to improving the population’s health. Grounded by its values “CKHA CARES” (Collaboration, Accountability, Respect, Excellence, Safety), CKHA commits to continuously improve the patient experience in partnership with patients, families and caregivers. For more information, click here to read CKHA’s Fast Facts.
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