Hos­pi­tal net­work check­ing record er­ror

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - NEWS - SHAWN JEF­FORDS

TORONTO — A clinical team will in­ves­ti­gate whether the care of any pa­tient at On­tario’s largest hos­pi­tal net­work was af­fected by er­rors re­ported in its elec­tronic med­i­cal records, says a spokes­woman.

Gil­lian Howard said that while the Univer­sity Health Net­work is con­duct­ing a re­view of five mil­lion elec­tronic health records gath­ered over the past five years, a clinical team will also re­view the files of pa­tients di­rectly im­pacted by the pri­vacy breach to en­sure their care was not com­pro­mised.

“I wouldn’t want peo­ple to be un­nec­es­sar­ily con­cerned,” she said. “We are deal­ing with this, we’ve cleaned our in-house data and are go­ing to be work­ing through all of the places out­side. The as­sur­ance that peo­ple should have is that their own (fam­ily doc­tor) would be look­ing at any of th­ese things and would likely pick up any­thing that’s an er­ror. The in­ci­dence is very small com­pared to the num­ber of records.”

The net­work, which con­sists of Princess Mar­garet Hos­pi­tal, Toronto Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, Toronto West­ern Hos­pi­tal and a num­ber of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion sites, said that it has also tem­po­rar­ily dis­con­nected its pa­tient record sys­tem from On­tario’s elec­tronic health records data­base while it in­ves­ti­gates the er­ror. Howard could not im­me­di­ately say how long the re­view would take or when it would be re­con­nected to the broader sys­tem.

The prob­lem — first re­ported by CTV News — came to light when a pa­tient found re­sults in his file for tests he had not taken. The hos­pi­tal net­work says er­rors have been found in four pa­tient records where the “iden­ti­fi­able” in­for­ma­tion of an in­di­vid­ual pa­tient went in some­one else’s file.

“A pa­tient no­ticed some­thing in his file ... that couldn’t have been his record,” Howard said. “He phoned us and that started the process of check­ing all th­ese things.”

Howard said the er­rors were iso­lated to the net­work’s data­base and were not part of On­tario’s elec­tronic health records data­base. The hos­pi­tal net­work be­lieves it knows what caused the er­rors but wants to in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther be­fore re­leas­ing the in­for­ma­tion, she added.

“We ab­so­lutely will get to the bot­tom of it,” she said.

Laura Gal­lant, spokes­woman for Health Min­is­ter Eric Hoskins, said the gov­ern­ment has been in con­tact with the hos­pi­tal net­work and con­firmed the er­rors were limited to its sys­tem.

“We have not been made aware of any other hos­pi­tals en­coun­ter­ing any­thing sim­i­lar,” she said in a state­ment.

On­tario’s In­for­ma­tion and Pri­vacy Com­mis­sion said Thurs­day it had been no­ti­fied of the breach and “will work with the UHN to de­ter­mine the cause of the breach, and to iden­tify cor­rec­tive mea­sures.”


Toronto Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal is seen in 2014. On­tario’s largest health net­work, which includes Toronto Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, will in­ves­ti­gate whether the care of any pa­tient was im­pacted by er­rors re­ported in its elec­tronic med­i­cal records.

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