Employee fired for ‘snooping’ into patient records
The Prince Albert Parkland Health Region has fired an employee for allegedly “snooping” into the medical records of her own family members.
According to a report of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the employee improperly accessed the patient information of 14 people, including several family members. The health region detected the breach on June 14 through an audit.
The employee, who is not named in the report, had already been disciplined for similar behaviour. In May, she allegedly snooped on two patients using the Pharmaceutical Information Program and was suspended for five days.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ronald J. Kruzeniski, found that the health region has effectively contained the breach and has taken steps to prevent similar issues. The “root cause,” he agreed, was the employee’s behaviour, and not any flaw in the health region’s system.
“I agree with Parkland’s finding that the root cause was the employee intentionally breaching privacy,” he wrote.
However, Kruzeniski noted that the health region’s initial effort to notify the affected patients missed “a couple of key elements.” He recommended disclosing the employee’s identity and termination to them.
Kruzeniski found that the employee’s choice to access the records without authorization violated privacy law.
“Parkland reported that the employee looked up records about herself, family members, and friends out of curiosity,” he said.
The Health Information Protection Act, the commissioner stressed, “does not authorize using personal health information to satisfy one’s curiosity.”
The main office of the Prince Albert Parkland Health region on 6 Ave. West.