Privacy report says B.C. medical clinics must do more to protect information

Report makes 16 recommendations including that clinics find funding to comply with privacy policies

A privacy audit says medical clinics in British Columbia must do more to protect the sensitive personal information they collect from patients.

The province’s privacy commission looked at 22 medical clinics and found gaps in privacy management, failures to ensure that privacy practices keep up with new technology, and inadequate funds and resources to address privacy issues.

The report makes 16 recommendations including that the clinics find funding to comply with privacy policies and appointing designated privacy officers.

Information and privacy commissioner Michael McEvoy says medical clinics collect sensitive personal information and the report finds many must improve their protection practices.

He says doctors and staff at clinics are legally obligated to abide by privacy legislation, but must also ensure strong privacy programs for their patients.

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“Medical clinics were chosen for this review for two reasons: the amount and sensitivity of the personal information they collect – some of the most sensitive personal information out there — and the volume of complaints and privacy breach reports my office receives that are related to privacy practices at facilities like these,” McEvoy said in a news release on Wednesday.

“There is no question about the intense demands medical professionals face; however, respecting and protecting patients’ private information is critically important.”

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is an independent agency that monitors and enforces the province’s access and privacy laws.

The Canadian Press

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