Accounts of NWT sufferers’ well being information being by chance faxed to inappropriate locations proceed to emerge.
The issue has been documented for greater than a decade, starting with a 2010 episode wherein employees in Norman Wells inadvertently faxed medical information to the CBC’s Yellowknife newsroom.
In 2018, the NWT’s then-privacy commissioner urged the territory’s well being authority to cease utilizing fax machines in favour of newer, safer know-how. However incidents have continued to pile up.
The newest report, printed by present privateness commissioner Andrew Fox final month, refers to a 2019 incident wherein a affected person’s medical info was mistakenly faxed to 60 completely different locations.
Unintended recipients, Fox wrote, included “a number of personal firms, plenty of Nunavut well being centres, a number of Alberta well being amenities – each personal and provincially run – in addition to different GNWT departments and organizations and a number of other federal businesses.”
A employees member on the NWT’s well being authority had been attempting to fax the affected person’s title, date of delivery, healthcare quantity and a few tissue specimen information to a single medical laboratory.
Fox mentioned the well being authority had instructed him the worker was not accustomed to a brand new fax machine at Stanton Territorial Hospital that had a “very delicate contact display screen consumer interface.”
Three of the recipients received in contact after the error was made. The well being authority subsequently faxed all 60 recipients, asking them to destroy the medical information that had been by chance despatched. None responded to that request.
Among the many 60 recipients have been “not less than 30 different divisions” of the NWT’s well being authority, Fox wrote in his abstract of an investigation into the breach, including that the territory’s privateness coverage ought to have led these divisions to let the sender know they’d made a mistake.
“Solely a type of notified the sender of the error. Clearly there’s a must overview this a part of the coverage system-wide,” he wrote.
Fox acknowledged that “the healthcare business continues to depend on faxing” past the NWT, which means the well being authority shouldn’t be the only perpetrator within the reluctance to advance to safer know-how.
“Certainly, the Alberta authorities lately applied a ‘new’ system to be used in that province which continues to depend on fax know-how for many of its communications,” Fox wrote.
“This obliges NTHSSA to speak with Alberta healthcare establishments by way of fax. However, this workplace will proceed to encourage the usage of safer technique of communication at any time when potential.”
His suggestions included that the well being authority use fax machines solely when no safer choice exists, and that “workers are skilled on the best way to use the fax machines they’re required to make use of.”