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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christy Clark Fails To Protect Personal Health Records


Loss of patients’ information shows minister must demand health authorities pay greater heed to information security
VICTORIA – Revelations this week about further breaches to security of individual health records shows the Liberal government hasn’t taken the issue seriously and learned lessons from the past, say the New Democrats.
Media reports this week revealed that a laptop and a USB drive containing personal information was lost by a representative of Vancouver Coastal Health at a Toronto airport in September. The personal information was not protected by encryption.
“It seems to me that Vancouver Coastal Health doesn’t take the protection of personal information seriously enough, and that’s a problem,” said New Democrat health critic Mike Farnworth. “The personal health records of 450 surgical patients have been lost and Vancouver Coastal doesn’t know who has them.
“Even beyond the breach of medical privacy, these patients are now all at risk of identity theft,” said Farnworth. “If there’s a good reason for this information to be mobile, there should be far greater safeguards in place to ensure it isn’t just lost.”
Auditor General John Doyle said just over a year ago that Vancouver Coastal didn’t put sufficient protections on privacy in its electronic health records system. Doyle’s September, 2010 report made 127 recommendations, 27 of which involved system security.
“They clearly haven’t heeded the auditor’s warning,” said Farnworth. “Vancouver Coastal obviously does not put a high priority on the security of patients’ information.”
“It’s an attitude adjustment that’s necessary,” said Farnworth. “There have been repeated privacy lapses at Vancouver Coastal Health and the health minister must demand that information security becomes a priority or patients’ information will remain at risk.”
Adrian Dix and the New Democrats believe in a strong public health care system that meets the needs of all British Columbians.

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