Investigation Recommends Assessment and Implementation of Safeguards to Ensure Proper Disposal of Electronically Stored Health Information

June 24, 2003

Frank Work, Information & Privacy Commissioner, publicly released an Investigation Report concerning the discovery of health information on the hard drive of a second hand computer.

The Commissioner’s Office commented that this was an unfortunate situation involving custodians who take the privacy and confidentiality of health information seriously. The Office said that custodians must maintain safeguards to protect health information, including appropriate measures to ensure proper disposal of health information.

The Office recommended that computer data storage components or portable media containing health information that requires exchange or disposal should be destroyed, or the health information should be permanently deleted through use of a commercial disk wiping utility.