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NL Health Services Advises of Privacy Breach

News ReleasesProvincial
Posted: October 6, 2023

Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Health Services today advised of a privacy breach related to the distribution of an email to 253 pediatric patients with diabetes and parents or guardians. The recipients of the email were inadvertently not blind copied, enabling all who received it to view the email addresses of other patients.

“NL Health Services sincerely regrets this error and I apologize to all of the patients whose privacy was breached through this incident,” said David Diamond, CEO of NL Health Services. “The protection of personal health information is a priority for our organization and we will take additional steps to ensure that our workforce understands the necessity and importance of protecting patient information.”

NL Health Services has identified all patients who have been impacted by the privacy breach and is in the process of contacting them and requesting that recipients delete the email and email addresses. The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has also been notified by NL Health Services.

“It is important for us to publicly disclose and discuss these privacy breaches, as another way to reinforce awareness among all health-care workers of their obligation to maintain the privacy of our patients, residents and clients,” said Stephen Greene, vice president responsible for Privacy. “NL Health Services has many measures in place to protect patient health information and we will continue to work on ensuring proper protocols are followed.”

NL Health Services has established a number of policies and initiatives for employees and physicians related to privacy and confidentiality, including:

  • the signing of an employee oath of privacy and confidentiality;
  • a Personal Health Information Act education program;
  • a Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and a Privacy Breach Management Policy;
  • an annual Privacy Awareness Week; and
  • notices to employees reminding them of their responsibility to help protect the privacy of patients, clients and residents.


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