Officials at the South Australia Health have found themselves in a major controversy last week due the unlawfully publication of more than 7200 confidential patient names and test results dating back to more than a decade.
The records contained patient details who were treated at the Adelaide Woman’s and Children’s Hospital between the years of 1996 to 2005. The documents highlighted the treatment of penitents suffering from Gastro, Respiratory infections and Whooping cough. This confidential file was mistakenly added in to a power point presentation on infectious diseases, which was later published on their website back in 2005.
Astonishingly these medical records remained on the hospitals website for 13 years until just recently when a parent who was Googling their child stumbled upon the power point presentation, after which concerned authorities were informed.
A full-blown investigation in to this sensitive matter has also brought in to light the unauthorized sharing of the same patient records on two versions of global document sharing website “Docslide”. The officials of the South Australia Health have stated that the intimate document has been viewed more than 300 times, however it is not clear who might have saved a copy of it.
Since the news blew up, SA Health did launched an internal investigation which brought up six different presentations published online containing similar links, however they have been taken down ever since. The regulatory authorities of SA Health have also disciplined their staff not to include any patient confidentiality information in to their future spreadsheets.
In a statement, SA Health admitted that it has not individually contacted the patients affected due to the difficulty brought in by the scale of people and the age of the records. However, the Executive Director of Women’s and Children’s Hospital has issued an apology which states.
Phil Robinson further went ahead and emphasized that their patient information system has not breached in any form nor any information has been compromised.
Patient information confidentiality is a serious matter and a one that need to remain within the confines of the hospital, however every now and then this type of information is leaked for ill purposes. To ensure online medical privacy, any record stored online should only be viewed and manipulated by authorized individuals so that incase of any mishap someone can be held accountable.
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