Patient data stolen during theft at Red Deer hospital

Alberta Health Services is notifying 6,129 patients that their health information may have been viewed by someone other than their authorized care providers.

The measure follows the theft of two hard drives contained in equipment in the rehabilitation department at Red Deer Hospital during a break-in in April.

The hard drives were taken from an electromyogram (EMG) and an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine. Both are diagnostic tools utilized by clinicians.

The EMG is used for nerve conduction to help determine neuromuscular disorders, while the EEG is used to test electrical activity within the brain to aid in diagnosing sleep disorders and epilepsy.

Only the hard drive in the EMG machine contained patient information. Investigators believe the likelihood of health information contained on the EMG hard drive – which was password protected, but unencrypted – being used or misused is extremely low, says AHS.

Individuals receiving notification letters will be able to contact a dedicated call-line available through Health Link (811) to ask any questions they may have.

Alberta Health Services says it takes the privacy and confidentiality of patient information seriously and has stringent policies in place, including policies pertaining to the electronic storage of patient records.

A review of security in the hospital is underway to identify possible enhancements.

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