WRHA confirms second breach of patient information
Cheryl Holmes, CTV Winnipeg
Published Wednesday, January 27, 2016 4:25PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:26AM CST
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has learned of second breach of patient information this month.
The latest breach affects 25 patients.
CTV News followed up with the WRHA Wednesday and learned a second information breach happened on Jan. 17 in the downtown/Point Douglas area.
It says, again, someone broke into vehicle and stole information left in an employee’s bag unattended.
This time the information was taken from a health care aid.
On Jan. 14, a similar incident left the personal information of 67 WRHA patients compromised when documents were stolen from a vehicle belonging to a nurse, in a downtown, residential area.
The WRHA says although the incidents are similar in nature, and occurred in a short time period, it doesn't believe the breaches are connected.
In total, the two breaches affect 92 patients.
WRHA COO Real Cloutier says staff members knew about the breach yesterday, and were already contacting affected patients, but no one notified him until today.
Cloutier couldn’t say definitively if this would be the last breach Winnipeg hears about, “I can't stand here and say (that) with confidence after I stood here yesterday saying we had that breach.”
Cloutier added he sent a message out to community leadership, “saying I would like them all to talk to each of their management staff and confirm that current policies and practices are being followed to identify if there are any other breaches that they're aware of, because quite frankly, I don't want to be standing here and saying that this is the last one.”
WRHA says the second incident of stolen info has been reported to police and patients are being notified.
A former registered nurse of 17 years who worked at a local hospital says she spotted similar flaws in Winnipeg’s health care system while her husband was in palliative care last year.
Cynthia Jones says she brought those concerns to a group of health care officials which included Cancer Care Manitoba representatives and two doctors from the WRHA.
One of her concerns dealt with how much paperwork and equipment employees were expected to carry around with them each day.
She said the onus for the breaches should be on the WHRA. Jones told CTV News she believes workers are expected to carry up to 60 pounds of equipment and files at a time.
Jones said, “They carry every single piece of paper that needs to go into the physical charts that are at the patients' homes every day for every patient. They carry all their medical needs, so, gauze scissors, dressing trays everything. Most of the palliative nurses that came into our home just grabbed their clipboard, except for a few that grabbed everything. But it was just quicker and easier for them.”
The WRHA said it would be rare for a nurse to carry that much weight daily.
Cloutier said the WRHA is now pushing for employees to carry the minimal amount of information they need to do their jobs for the day, and keep that information on them at all times.
He said that would only be one or two pages per patient.
Jones said her second concern was with communication between health care professionals.
She thinks a centralized, digital system would work best to not only help with communication between departments, but to also avoid files being stolen while employees are out in the community doing their jobs.
On Thursday, the Manitoba Ombudsman said the WRHA made it aware of the first breach.
It's holding off on determining what role it has to play until the WRHA completes its investigation.