Wednesday, September 10, 2014

There Is An Important Lesson Here For The Management Of Private Health Information - Electronic Or On Paper.

This appeared a few days ago.

Privacy breach in release of records to hostile ex-husband

2nd Sep 2014
A MAJOR Sydney hospital breached a patient’s privacy by giving her hostile ex-husband their children’s medical records containing information about her health, a tribunal has found.
The patient, identified only as AJD, has received treatment from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for a serious, chronic illness and also delivered two children at RPA’s maternity wing.
She complained the hospital breached her privacy and made her feel unsafe by handing her former husband the children’s records relating to the time around each of their births, including information describing her health matters as well.
The parents were divorced but retained equal custodial rights and responsibilities for the children.
In an internal review of the matter, the hospital conceded that information about AJD’s health was contained in the children’s medical records it provided to the father. But the review found no breach of Health Privacy Principles (HPPs).
In evidence before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, AJD stated her ex-husband had a history of hostile and violent behaviour and has used information from the records to attack her.
She contended her ex-husband had not previously been aware of some of the information and he had used it in the Federal Court and the Family Court to pursue sole parental responsibility for the children.
Lots more here:
Clearly the husband had a right to the children’s information but clearly he did not have a right to his divorced wife’s record.
Bottom line is therefore a record may need to be segmented and carefully reviewed prior to release - especially to a previous estranged partner.
You also certainly cannot just hand over an electronic without a careful review to be sure only the appropriate and authorised party’s information is released.
Tricky but important.

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