The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) is getting its hand slapped by the Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner after an employee was caught snooping.
According to a report from the commissioner’s office, a patient made a complaint in October 2015 that an employee had looked through their health information.
While an investigation found the employee the complaint was about hadn’t looked at the patient’s records, the actions of another employee were flagged as suspicious. This employee was identified as a medical lab assistant in the phlebotomy unit of the Regina General Hospital.
By March the health region had found the employee had accessed 97 medical records of 35 different people inappropriately – among them the employee’s relatives and a former spouse.
In investigating the privacy breach, the commissioner’s office found the health region didn’t properly follow privacy breach guidelines.
The commissioner found that, in taking three months for the employee to be put on leave, the health region did not do enough to contain the breach.
The health region didn’t let the affected individuals know about the privacy breach until July 2016. The commissioner said that was not soon enough, and noted it would have been best for affected people to know as soon as a breach is found.
The commissioner found the RQHR didn’t have adequate auditing practices in place at the time of the breach, and the health region’s schedule for privacy training wasn’t good enough.
As of Wednesday, no disciplinary measures had been laid out for the employee. During the audit, the employee was put on paid administrative leave, and is now on determinate leave.
The RQHR cannot interview an employee on determinate leave, as per the collective agreement. The health region will interview the employee before corrective measures are decided on.