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This article was published 19/9/2014 (2592 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The personal medical information of 322 people has been stolen from a Winnipeg health office.
A senior medical resident at Health Sciences Centre is in hot water after a laptop containing the information was stolen from an office Sept. 10.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority learned of the security breach the next day but did not publicly reveal it until Friday.
SSLqThere was patient information on the computer, (security) procedures were not followed, and it was a violation of PHIA (Personal Health Information Act). Those facts are clear'
It said it has written letters to all affected patients to notify them of the breach.
It has also reported the incident to Winnipeg police and informed the Manitoba ombudsman's office.
Réal Cloutier, the WRHA's vice-president and chief operating officer, said the health authority is not naming the doctor while the incident is being investigated and any disciplinary actions are considered.
He said personal patient information had been kept on the doctor's personal laptop -- against policy -- and its contents aren't protected by a user password.
"There was patient information on the computer, (security) procedures were not followed, and it was a violation of PHIA (the Personal Health Information Act). Those facts are clear," Cloutier said in an interview.
In a statement Friday, Health Minister Erin Selby said the incident should not have occurred.
"Patients have a right to expect that their privacy is being respected by health professionals. That's my expectation," Selby said. "We've let the WRHA know we think this is an unacceptable breach and that they need to take action to resolve this situation and ensure that it doesn't happen again."
The laptop contained information on patient consultations within the last 18 months at the hepatology clinic at Health Sciences Centre.
Cloutier said the WRHA has a "strong regimen" of training and technical supports for staff to safeguard patient information and to prevent such breaches.
"We can appreciate how unsettling this must be for patients," he said. "We are deeply sorry, and want to assure patients and the public we are looking at every option possible to get the laptop back."
Cloutier said doctors are supposed to employ a secure system when entering patient information.
The stolen laptop contained clinical reporting letters sent between doctors so a patient can be referred to another to physician.
The penalty for unauthorized disclosure of confidential patient information can be as severe as employee termination, the WRHA said in a release. Individuals charged and convicted of an offence under PHIA also face a fine of as much as $50,000.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.