LifeLabs advises patients in Kamloops of potential information disclosure

“...we know that the protection of personal information is extremely important to all of our patients.” - Sue Paish, President LifeLabs

LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services (LifeLabs) today announced it is advising some of its patients in Kamloops, B.C. that their personal information, including personal health information, may have been compromised.

A computer hard drive dedicated to printing electrocardiogram (ECG) reports at one of LifeLabs’ patient service centres in Kamloops was removed in January of this year. Following a thorough internal investigation, the company has been unable to determine the whereabouts of the hard drive, exactly when the hard drive was removed, or by whom.

LifeLabs notified approximately 16,100 patients in the Kamloops area via a personal letter mailed on June 21. LifeLabs has also informed and is fully cooperating with the B.C. Ministry of Health and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

The information stored on the hard drive included ECG test data from three patient centres in Kamloops. Those patient centre locations are: 321 Nicola Street, 546 St. Paul Street, and 685 Tranquille Road.

The computer operating system is password protected and proprietary software is required to read the ECG results. The information stored on the hard drive from between the years 2007 and 2013, includes the patient’s name, address, birth date, personal health number, gender, results of ECG test(s), and the referring physician’s name and address.

“I am deeply sorry for the concerns or difficulties this situation creates for our patients, our employees, health professionals and the Kamloops community,” said Sue Paish, President and CEO of LifeLabs. “LifeLabs manages over 50 million patient records a year. We understand the importance of personal information and we know that the protection of personal information is extremely important to all of our patients.”

Following the company’s internal investigation, LifeLabs has instituted a number of remedial measures to minimize the risk that this type of incident could occur in the future, including ensuring that all ECG reports and the ECG drives are fully encrypted.

“While we believe the chance of patient information being compromised is very small, we have taken steps to minimize the likelihood that an incident like this could ever happen again. We are constantly strengthening our practices to avoid such incidents and continue to improve the safety and security of personal health information,” said Sue Paish.

LifeLabs has established a dedicated call centre and online contact for anyone who has questions about this situation. For further information, visit the LifeLabs website at: http://www.lifelabs.com/PrivacyBC/

or write to LifeLabs at: privacybc@lifelabs.com

or call the LifeLabs dedicated phone-line at: 1-855-306-4900 between the hours 8 am to 8 pm PST, Monday to Friday.