One of the five employees canned by Eastern Health for breaching patient confidentiality has gone public with her side of the story.
The province’s largest health care board announced yesterday that one of those fired was a nurse who allegedly inappropriately — and deliberately — accessed the medical records of 122 patients. Vickie Kaminski, CEO of Eastern, apologized Wednesday to the 122 patients involved.
Now the layers of the onion are being peeled back. The fired nurse, Colleen Weeks, a long time employee with Eastern says her reasons for looking at the files was legitimate. She is defending her actions and has retained a lawyer.
She told CBC News that it's her duty to help patients, and part of that is looking at their medical information. However, some of the people’s information that she allegedly snooped into were not patients. They allegedly include her ex-husband, her boyfriend's ex-wife & the tenant renting a friends apartment. If that is the case, it appears to be flat-out wrongdoing.
As a person who has worked with very sensitive personal information, I know that just because I have access to a database, does not mean that one can indiscriminately scan through other people’s private information, at will. That would be inappropriate. Sharing that information would be completely inexcusable. Accessing people’s personal information without authorization and for purposes unrelated to the employee’s duties constitutes a breach.
Organizations like Eastern Health are committed to protecting the confidentiality and integrity of personal information. Personal information submitted or collected can only be used for the purpose for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual, or as required by law. It is Eastern health’s duty to protect this information and how well we do it is a matter of public trust.
Considering both the sensitivity of the information civil servants manage and the vulnerability of the new platforms that hold the information, there are bound to be privacy breaches.
The data is often highly sensitive and its unauthorized disclosure could have severe consequences: people’s privacy, the integrity of their identity, their economic circumstances and even their personal safety are on the line.
The very idea of some smug busybody rooting through my health or financial records, motivated by curiosity on her downtime, really irks me!