Statement regarding privacy breaches at Nova Scotia Health

Nova Scotia Health is in the process of contacting a total of 211 people by letter whose personal health information was inappropriately accessed in two separate and unrelated incidents. Everyone who is affected will hear directly from Nova Scotia Health and we will be available to discuss the details of these breaches with them.
We apologize to everyone whose private information was viewed and to Nova Scotians in general, who entrust our organization and its people with care of their health and safeguarding of their personal health information.
We have notified the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia and will work with the office on any recommendations they may offer as a result of these breaches.
Staff and physicians across our organization require varying degrees of access to information to provide care to our patients. Our organization takes several steps to ensure that all employees understand appropriate access and their obligation to keep patient information confidential, as well as to monitor access and identify inappropriate activity.
These steps include:
• Pledges of confidentiality signed by all new staff, and standard orientation regarding privacy and compliance with Nova Scotia Health policies and procedures
• Ongoing education for managers and front-line staff
• An online privacy and confidentiality learning module with the expectation all staff will complete and submit the pledge of confidentiality annually.
• Pro-active auditing capability in place and being used across the province with additional audit processes being developed.
Nova Scotia Health takes any breach of confidentiality seriously, and thoroughly investigates potential inappropriate access. While we are extremely disappointed that these breaches have occurred, we maintain confidence in the ethical practices of employees throughout our organization.
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