Winnipeg health region fires pharmacist for snooping in health records

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has fired a Grace Hospital pharmacist for looking at the records of patients who weren’t in his care.

The pharmacist reviewed the health records of at least 56 people without a work-related reason for doing so, the health authority said in a news release Tuesday.

Global News

“Accessing, reviewing or browsing through patient records out of curiousity is not permitted,” said Real Cloutier, the health authority’s chief operating officer and vice-president. “We appreciate how upsetting this can be for patients.”

The unauthorized access of health records was caught during an audit by WRHA privacy staff, the news release said.

The health authority has notified all patients who were identified as having had their health records accessed by the pharmacist, a WRHA employee.

The pharmacist looked at the health information of people he wasn’t caring for using eChart Manitoba, which gives health-care professionals access to patient health information. Health-care providers aren’t allowed to look at the information unless they need it to care for a patient. Records include information such as name, address, prescription records, lab results, immunizations and X-ray reports, the health authority said.

The system keeps a record of all user activity, which allows for privacy audits.

“Access to electronic health information has been proven to improve patient care by providing ready access to up-to-date health information,” Cloutier said. It also allows privacy staff to identify inappropriate access to health records, he said. “In the past, our ability to do this was much more limited.”

The Manitoba ombudsman and the Manitoba Society of Pharmacists have been notified of the privacy breach, the health authority news release said.

People who use or disclose confidential patient information can be charged under the Personal Health Information Act and face a fine of up to $50,000 if convicted.

© Shaw Media, 2015

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Winnipeg health region fires pharmacist for snooping in health records
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