USB key – update

May 22, 2013 - Last April, Hopital Montfort informed the public that a non-encrypted USB key that was lost in the fall of 2012 was found and returned to the hospital by a member of the community. An independent expert technological assessment, carried out at Montfort's request, now confirms that there was no non-authorized access to the files of the 25 693 patients concerned. 

“This is good news for our patients and we are delighted to reassure them that their personal health information was not copied, shared with a third party or used for any other purposes,” said Dr. Bernard Leduc, president and CEO of Hôpital Montfort.

An analysis of the original content of the USB key revealed, however, the existence of an additional file. Montfort believes that the person who found the USB key opened this file on the day she returned the device to determine that the key did, in fact, belong to the hospital. The additional accounting file contained the names of approximately 2 200 patients not previously notified.

In the interest of full transparency and in compliance with the law, each of these patients will receive a personalized letter in the next few days advising them that the file contained the following information: their name, an encounter number, the date on which they received care, a total and outstanding amount due, the name of the person responsible for payment, a code representing the type and payment status of the visit in question, and, in 130 cases, a social insurance number associated with a guarantor. “We have been informed that the USB key was found shortly after it was lost,” adds Dr. Leduc. “We believe that the information stored in the additional file was not accessed or used for any malicious purposes.” The file contained no other personal or health information such as a health card number, medical diagnosis, postal address, banking or credit card information. 

Hôpital Montfort understands and values the importance of safeguarding personal information. A number of measures are in place to ensure that such an incident does not reoccur. All USB keys in use at Montfort are now encrypted by default and the hospital continues to prioritize staff privacy and confidentiality training for the protection of patient’s personel health information. 

Hôpital Montfort is a francophone institution that delivers quality care in both official languages, within an academic setting and working with its partners to improve the health of communities. 

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Communications Department, Hôpital Montfort 
613-746-4621, ext. 2010