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Commissioners Investigation Calls for Nova Scotia Health to Address Privacy Breaches

Feb 8, 2023 | 11:05 AM

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Nova Scotia has issued a new investigation report.

Tricia Ralph’s report is calling on Nova Scotia Health to improve its practices to prevent employees from looking at the personal information of its patients for non-treatment purposes. A practice commonly known as snooping.

The commissioner began investigating a series of privacy breaches after NSH voluntarily reported that it caught eight employees snooping in electronic health records of people associated with the 2020 mass shooting in the province. The investigation uncovered more than 1200 privacy breaches affecting 270 people.

Ralph says policies, training, and penalties are not always enough to deter employees from snooping and is urging NSH to strengthen its culture of privacy by improving its privacy management program.

The overall finding of this investigation is that despite the implementation of safeguards, employees snooping through patients’ health records without authorization continues to be a recurring problem. Ralph says NSH will require high level leadership to champion a culture of privacy.

There are 12 recommendations for NSH to consider as they work to prevent future privacy breaches. They will have 30 days to decide whether they will follow these recommendations.



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