Nurse Unlawfully Accessed Health Information

July 6, 2018

A registered nurse pleaded guilty to accessing health information in contravention of the Health Information Act (HIA) and received a $3,000 fine, plus a victim fine surcharge of 30 percent of the imposed fine, on June 25, 2018.

In 2016, two individuals requested audit logs of accesses to their health information in Alberta Netcare, the provincial electronic health record. Requesting access to audit logs is a right of access to health information provided by the HIA.

Upon review of their audit logs, they alleged unauthorized access to their health information by Jasmine Badger, a nurse at the Fox Creek Healthcare Centre. The individuals did not receive health services at the Fox Creek Healthcare Centre.

The individuals reported the matter to the Alberta Health Services’ Access and Privacy Office. In October 2016, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) received a report about the breaches from Alberta Health Services.

In December 2016, the individuals submitted complaints to the OIPC that alleged Ms. Badger had made unauthorized accesses to their health information.

The OIPC’s investigation found that Ms. Badger accessed the health information of the individuals 138 times between April 1, 2013 to July 18, 2016.

Due to a two-year limitation period under the HIA, Ms. Badger pleaded guilty to accessing the health information of one of the individuals on 35 occasions between October 7, 2015 to July 18, 2016, and eight unauthorized accesses to the health information of the second individual between November 1, 2015 to July 18, 2016. Health information accessed included medical profile, demographic information, consultation details, lab results or analysis including blood work, and diagnostic imaging results such as x-rays and MRI.

The OIPC referred its findings to Crown prosecutors at Alberta Justice. Charges were laid in October 2017.

This was the ninth conviction since the HIA was enacted in 2001. This was the first case in which a victim fine surcharge had been issued. A victim fine surcharge helps fund victim services, such as counseling.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta works independently of government to uphold the access and privacy rights of all Albertans.