Don’t Be A Victim: How To Protect Yourself From A Health Data Breach

patient medical records

Can you imagine how you would feel right now if you found out that your local physician’s office revealed your personal information? You’d be mortified, right? Angry even – and rightfully so might I add.

Well, for 780 HIV patients, this terrifying scenario became a harsh reality. The Guardian reported that 56 Dean Street, a sexual health clinic located in London, accidentally revealed the names and email addresses of its patients in a newsletter that was sent Tuesday, September 1. Here’s how it happened: The recipients were entered in the “To” field rather than the “Bcc” field.

Needless to say, the clinic received what-seemed-to-be endless criticism while losing the trust of many patients in the process. Hours later, the email was recalled and lead doctor Alan McOwan issued an apology:

“I’m writing to apologise to you. This morning at around 11.30am we sent you the latest edition of Option E newsletter. This is normally sent to individuals on an individual basis, but unfortunately we sent out today’s email to a group of email addresses. We apologise for this error. We recalled/deleted the email as soon as we realised what had happened. If it is still in your inbox please delete it immediately. Clearly this is completely unacceptable. We are urgently investigating how this has happened and I promise you that we will take steps to ensure it never happens again. We will send you the outcome of the investigation.”