Laptop theft puts Parkwood Hospital patient data at risk
The personal information of more than 2,000 patients at Parkwood Hospital could be in the wrong hands after a laptop was stolen.
Former patient John Kane, 82, was treated for a hip injury this past summer at London’s Parkwood. Weeks later he received a letter saying some of his personal information may have been compromised.
Many are concerned, but Kane is pleased the hospital is at least taking action, “It doesn’t concern me anything, St. Joe’s will look after everything so I don’t have no problem with them.”
Ruth Bullas is the privacy and risk officer at St. Joseph's Health Centre, which operates Parkwood.
She says the problem lies with McKesson Automation, the company in charge of the software used to dispense some patient medications.
“In total there were 2,216 patients that were affected by this. What we have done is, we’ve worked, like I said, with McKesson to make sure that they’ve changed some of their processes. So they have encrypted all of their laptops.”
St. Joseph’s says the laptop containing the sensitive information was stolen from the back of the vehicle of a McKesson employee in August, however they didn't report the theft to Parkwood Hospital until September.
The laptop contained information like the patient's name, room number, hospital card number and some prescription data.
“There wasn’t any financial information, no social insurance number, no OHIP number, no contact information” Bullas says.
She adds that this is the first time something like this has occurred, and they're hoping steps have been taken to ensure it’s also the last.
“We take our patients’ privacy very seriously. We want them to know that we care about them, that we’re taking this seriously, that we are putting in processes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”