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Health

Privacy commissioner finds doctors snooped in Humboldt Broncos patient records

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REGINA — Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner has found eight people inappropriately gained access to the electronic health records of 10 Humboldt Broncos team members involved in a bus crash last April.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 were injured in the crash between the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi trailer at a rural Saskatchewan intersection.

“Due to the high-profile nature of the crash, eHealth Saskatchewan understood the risk of snooping,” said a report from information and privacy commissioner Ronald Kruzeniski.

The report said the health agency began monitoring the profiles of the patients — which included lab results, medication information and chronic diseases — three days after the crash.

“Between April 9, 2018, and May 15, 2018, eHealth detected eight users of the viewer, mostly physicians, accessed without apparent authority the profiles of 10 patients.”

The report shows eHealth reported the breaches to the privacy commissioner July 5.

“This has been a major tragedy in our province and I’m disappointed that people got tempted,” Kruzeniski said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Monday. “Now that it’s happened, it’s my job to work with others through education and legislative change (to) make the system work.”

His report, which has been posted online, detailed the privacy breaches.

In one case, an employee of a medical clinic examined the health information of three people involved in the collision.

The assistant admitted she consulted the records because “her family members had heard one of the individuals had died and she wanted to verify the information; she thought another individual was a patient … (and) she wanted to verify a detail that was reported by the media about one of the individuals.”

The report said the employee’s access to eHealth was suspended and she was given further training, but she has since resigned.

Another case involved a doctor at a Humboldt clinic who viewed the records of two people, including one who was a patient prior to the crash.

“Dr. D wanted to know what injuries the individual sustained, if the individual received care or if it was an instant fatality,” said the report. “For the other individual, it explained Dr. D was concerned.”

Other cases included three doctors who provided emergency care at the Nipawin Hospital and who reviewed patient records of those they treated.

“They believed they were in the individuals’ ‘circle of care,'” said the report.

The privacy commissioner said the province’s Health Information Protection Act does not address circles of care so the doctors were no longer authorized to access the records.

“You are entitled to access when you have a need to know, not an anticipated need, not, ‘Gee, I might like to know.”

Another case saw a medical resident view the information of three patients because she wanted to get closure on the cases, which is not an acceptable reason.

During the monitoring period, two other medical residents looked at the records of one crash patient when the residents were reviewing the records of dozens of other patients with a particular illness.

Kruzeniski made a number of recommendations to eHealth —including that it conduct regular monthly audits for the next three years of the physicians involved.

Kruzeniski also recommended that the organization comply with a need-to-know principle rather than a circle-of-care concept and that users of EHealth be made to regularly review their training.

A statement from eHealth said it took a number of measures to address the breaches, including notifying the privacy commissioner and the families affected.

It terminated the account of the medical office assistant, suspended the accounts of the medical residents until they had further training and sent letters to the doctors. It’s also reviewing the recommendations from the privacy commissioner.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said it is following up on the report and apologized to the patients and their families.

“We are deeply sorry that the situations described in the privacy commissioner’s reports may add to their stress,” the authority said in a statement.

“We believe the physicians cited in the cases … specifically those who provided care to the patients affected, acted in good faith and out of sincere concern for the patients and families touched by this terrible tragedy.”

The health authority said it will work with the Ministry of Health on possible amendments to privacy regulations.

— By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton.

The Canadian Press


Community

Edmonton community members explore using the Emergency Room as an entry point to transitional housing

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Is there a better way than simply releasing a person experiencing homelessness from the hospital back onto the street? It creates an endless cycle of emergency room visits and escalating costs, not to mention the challenges the patients face in having a successful recovery.

As we continue to look for solutions to homelessness in our city, a group of community members from different fields and backgrounds met recently to brainstorm and discuss alternatives to the practice of releasing patients into a state of homelessness.

That’s a long way of saying that if someone experiencing homelessness comes to an emergency room with a need for medical aid, the only alternative once treated is to release the patient back onto the street.  The chances of recovery are greatly diminished, while the probability of return visits increases.  The costs are severe, both to the person experiencing homelessness and to our ever-more expensive health care system.

Spearheading the initiative is Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, a veteran emergency room physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and a Professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta.

Watch this short video to hear from some of those involved and to better understand the concept and learn why there is a growing groundswell of support for this idea.

 

There are many ways that people can get involved with this initiative.  It’s common sense that housing and health are interconnected. Finding solutions to chronic homelessness and easing pressure on our health care system is something we can all get behind.

Please contact Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti directly to learn more about the project and how you can help:

Phone 780.932-7187

lfrances@ualberta.ca

 

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Community

Canada’s First Female Astronaut coming to Red Deer for Health Fundraiser

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From the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation

The world’s first neurologist in space is coming to Red Deer

The Red Deer Hospital fundraiser also features comedians from CBC Radio’s “The Debaters”

Red Deer Regional Health Foundation is pleased to announce a new event, The Lunch Box Experience, featuring three of Canada’s brightest stars, all coming together over lunch to raise funds for critical equipment for Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut and first neurologist in space, will be the keynote speaker on Monday, September 23, 2019 at Cambridge Red Deer Hotel & Conference Centre.  To motivate and inspire audiences, Dr. Bondar draws on her remarkable depth of expertise as an astronaut, physician, scientific researcher, author, and leader.

This is Dr. Bondar’s first visit to Central Alberta, and may be your only chance to experience this extraordinary woman in person.

 

Also performing are Erica Sigurdson and Dave Hemstad, comedians both regularly featured on CBC Radio’s smash hit The Debaters.  After lunch you’ll enjoy hysterical standup from both Erica and Dave, plus an episode of witty debater-style banter that will have you in stitches!

Tickets are $125 per person or table of 6 for $700; includes a unique lunch and are available now.

The Lunch Box Experience, formally part of the Red Deer Festival of Trees event line-up (Festival Business Lunch) is a fresh, new business networking opportunity.

Proceeds from this event will go towards ceiling-mounted patient lifts at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

For more information, tickets, or sponsorship opportunities, please visit

The Lunch Box Experience:  A Red Deer Hospital Fundraiser

WHEN:     Monday, September 23, 2019

11:00am – 1:30pm

Cambridge Red Deer Hotel & Conference Centre

 

 

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