A truck goes through the intersection near the memorial for the 2018 crash where 16 people died and 13 injured when a truck collided with the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus, at the crash site on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 in Tisdale, Sask. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Doctors snooped in Humboldt Broncos patient records

Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner discovered doctors inappropriately accessed electronic health records

Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner has found eight people inappropriately gained access to electronic health records of 10 Humboldt Broncos team members involved in a bus crash last April.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 were injured in the crash between the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi trailer at a rural Saskatchewan intersection.

“Due to the high-profile nature of the crash, eHealth Saskatchewan understood the risk of snooping,” said a report from information and privacy commissioner Ronald Kruzeniski.

The report said the health agency began monitoring the profiles of the patients — which include lab results, medication information and chronic diseases — three days after the crash.

“Between April 9, 2018, and May 15, 2018, eHealth detected eight users of the viewer, mostly physicians, accessed without apparent authority the profiles of 10 patients.”

READ MORE: Forgiveness can help healing process in cases like Humboldt tragedy

The report shows eHealth reported the breaches to the privacy commissioner on July 5.

Kruzeniski said he’s disappointed that the seven doctors and an office manager inappropriately looked at the records.

“This has been a major tragedy in our province and I’m disappointed that people got tempted,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Monday. ”Now that it’s happened, it’s my job to work with others through education and legislative change (to) make the system work.”

His report, which has been posted online, detailed the privacy breaches.

In one case, an employee of a medical clinic examined the health information of three people involved in the collision.

The office manager admitted she consulted the records because “her family members had heard one of the individuals had died and she wanted to verify the information; she thought another individual was a patient … (and) she wanted to verify a detail that was reported by the media about one of the individuals.”

The report said the employee’s access to eHealth was suspended and she was given further training, but she has since resigned from her job.

Another case involved a doctor at a Humboldt clinic who viewed the records of two people, including one who was a patient prior to the crash.

“Dr. D wanted to know what injuries the individual sustained, if the individual received care or if it was an instant fatality,” said the report. “For the other individual, it explained Dr. D was concerned.”

READ MORE: Fate of truck driver in Humboldt bus crash will test sentencing system, say experts

Other cases included three doctors who provided emergency care at the Nipawin Hospital and who reviewed patient records of those they treated.

“They believed they were in the individuals’ ‘circle of care,’” said the report.

The privacy commissioner said the province’s Health Information Protection Act does not address circles of care so the doctors were no longer authorized to access the records.

Another case saw a medical resident view the information of three patients because she wanted to get closure on the cases, which is not an acceptable reason.

During the monitoring period, two other medical residents were found to have looked at the records of one of the people involved in the crash when the residents were reviewing the records of dozens of patients with a particular illness.

In his report, Kruzeniski has made a number of recommendations to eHealth — including that it conduct regular monthly audits for the next three years of the physicians who inappropriately gained accessed to information.

Kruzeniski also recommended that the organization comply with a need-to-know principle rather than a circle-of-care concept and that it develop a solution to force users of the system to regularly review their training.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Alberta naturalists fear pristine headwaters will be contaminated by coal mine

Chutes of the Ram constitute one of Earth’s ‘most beautiful’ spots

Every Albertan eligible for COVID-19 testing

22 new cases confirmed on Friday

Sylvan Lake’s Lakefront Park public washrooms open

A team will work to regularly clean the washrooms resulting in periodic 20-minute closures

Fast-food restaurants serving up free non-medical masks

Free protection will come in packages of four

Sylvan Lake Customs and Classics show cancelled

The annual Show and Shine was scheduled for July 11

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

International student worry about pandemic as decisions loom on travel to Canada

Zohra Shahbuddin is weighing whether to enrol this fall or put off coming to Canada until next year

How finding a ministerial home for CMHC caused ‘madness’ in November

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. manages the national housing strategy

‘What do we do now?’ Labour dispute at Regina refinery nears 6 months

About 700 unionized workers were locked out by refinery owner, Federated Co-operatives Ltd., Dec. 5

Police need more than an unverified tip to avoid drug-case entrapment: top court

Police need more than an unverified tip to avoid drug-case entrapment: top court

N.S. police received warnings in 2011 about man who would become mass killer

N.S. police received warnings in 2011 about man who would become mass killer

Trudeau acknowledges ‘anti-black racism’ in U.S., with ‘work to do in Canada’

Trudeau acknowledges ‘anti-black racism’ in U.S., with ‘work to do in Canada’

Most Read