Paramedics leak patients’ information to wrong Hamilton hospital

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Published February 7, 2024 at 5:36 pm

Hamilton has been struck by another privacy leak after paramedics leaked patient information to the wrong hospitals.

While no information was released publically, patient medical records were sent where they did not belong. The information was seen only by hospital record staff, Hamilton said, and was quickly destroyed.

Hamilton Paramedic Services learned of the errors when an unspecified out-of-city hospital reached out to say they received the record of a patient who had never been treated there. As a result, the service spent the last three months reviewing 306,000 patients’ records.

They’ve learned the records of 162 patients (.05 percent) were sent to the wrong facilities.

The service concluded the root of the problem was human error, as workers had selected the wrong hospital in their patient management system while transporting patients.

“While it was concluded that no patient information was shared publicly, some process improvements have been initiated as a result of the review, including modifications to the electronic patient care records system, improved controls, GPS validation, and additional training,” the city said.

Hamilton Paramedic Chief Michael Sanderson said, “The Hamilton Paramedic Service is committed to a high standard of patient privacy and confidentiality. On behalf of the Service, I would like to extend my deepest apologies to the affected patients who entrusted their care and health information to us.”

“We take patient privacy very seriously, and our team has taken action to improve processes and strengthen our system to protect patient information and ensure that patient confidentiality remains paramount,” he concluded. The service is informing and apologizing to the 162 impacted patients. They have also told the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

This is but the latest privacy breach in Hamilton in the last while. The Hamilton Police Board is being investigated for the potential leak of classified personal information, four Hamilton Health Sciences workers were fired in August for “snooping” through 4,000 patient records, and the city leaked the identity and email address of 450 residents who had registered to vote by mail in 2022.

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