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Doctor's briefcase stolen with patient files

Eastern Health says patient files are missing after a doctor's briefcase was stolen on the weekend.

A news release from the health authority today said a briefcase was stolen out of a doctor's car Sunday evening. The briefcase and 29 patient files have been recovered, said Eastern Health, but five files are still missing.

The authority says it has identified all the patients affected, and the doctor is contacting them to tell them about the privacy breach.

In the news release, Eastern Health president and CEO David Diamond apologized.

"I regret that this incident occurred, and I apologize to all of the patients whose privacy has been accidentally breached," said Diamond. "We will make every effort to learn from this accidental privacy breach as we continue to further strengthen our privacy and confidentiality practices."

It's the latest breach for Eastern Health, including one a month ago when an employee was found to have deliberately accessed patient records.

• In March, a clerical worker was fired for snooping in the private files of 25 patients.

• Last June, Eastern Health announced a USB flash drive with data on about 9,000 employees was lost. It was found in August.

• In May 2014, Eastern Health revealed an administrative employee accessed 20 patient records.

• In April 2013, two briefcases containing patient information were stolen from vehicles.

• In September 2012, 46 patients had their records accessed by two clerks at a rural clinic.

• In July 2012, five Eastern Health employees were fired for breaching patient confidentiality, including one nurse who accessed 122 medical records she had no right to see.

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