Finland: Patient records illegally accessed at Helsinki hospital

Haartman hospital in Helsinki has uncovered the theft of hundreds of patients’ medical records. A temporary secretary at the hospital gained unauthorised access to the electronic records of nearly two hundred patients. According to the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman the viewing of patients’ medical records is increasingly common in Finland.

Helsinki man Seppo Saarela received a shocking letter from Haartmanaccident and emergency hospital a week ago.

”A secretary working at the city hospital had opened my case history file and could have seen my patient record,” read Saarela from the letter he was sent. ”The department’s secretary did not have the right to open the case history file.”

The secretary is now suspected of data protection crimes. Haatrman hospital employed the worker for four months in the spring of 2010. When the data protection breaches were discovered, the hospital fired the secretary.

Seppo Saarela was distressed to hear that the suspect was a temporary worker.

”It feels like that any summer intern can get into Haartman hospital’s database. Unbelievable!”

Chief Physician: Motive is a total mystery

Both Haartman hospital and the police have known about the data breach for over a year. The criminal investigation is ongoing.

One week ago the hospital sent a letter of apology to the patients concerned.

”Helsinki health services decided to notify all those whose names we know,” said Haartman hospital’s Chief Physician, Jukka Toivonen. ”Altogether 188 of these letters have been sent.”

”We have no information about the motive,” says Toivonen. ”It could have been just rach curiosity. Police are investigating this too.”

The Data Protection ombudsman Reijo Aarnio says that snooping on patient records is becoming increasingly common in Finland, and that relatives and neighbours are often the victims.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.

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