If you access personal health information without authorization, this is a privacy breach.
You can be charged with a fine under the HIA and can face penalties, fines, and sanctions from your professional association.
How frequently are people being charged under the Health Information Act in Alberta for improper access to health information?
“This year alone, there has been one conviction and two charges for improper access of health information. The office is also investigating more than a dozen cases, and they all have the potential to become offence investigations.” Medical record privacy breaches an ‘epidemic' in Alberta,' says commissioner CBC News Posted Oct 15, 2015.
An investigation by the Alberta Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) has resulted in 26 charges being laid against an individual under the Health Information Act (HIA) as reported in a OIPC News Release December 1, 2015. An incident at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary was reported by Alberta Health Services to the OIPC. The OIPC conducted an investigation and upon completion of the investigation charges were laid against the individual who allegedly gained access to health information in contravention of HIA.
This is the sixth time charges have been laid under provisions of HIA. The maximum penalty for each offence is $50,000.
Who is a custodian?
The custodian (as defined by HIA a ‘custodian' includes physicians, pharmacists, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, Alberta Health Services, Minister of Alberta Health and more). The custodian is responsible to take reasonable steps prevent privacy and security breaches including providing privacy awareness training.
Do you have a privacy awareness program?
Do you have a privacy awareness program in your practice that everyone must attend? This includes healthcare providers, students, residents, office staff and, yes, even the non-patient care employees like cooks, cleaners, and maintenance staff.
Have you seen this?
Do You Need Privacy Awareness Training for Your Healthcare Practice?