Hospital employee unnecessarily accessed patient information

VANCOUVER, Wash.  — Nearly 2,000 patients at a Vancouver, Washington, hospital are being notified that an employee unnecessarily accessed their private health information.

The Columbian reports that PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center officials discovered Aug. 9 that the employee accessed electronic files containing protected health information.

The information included patient names, ages, medical record and account numbers, admission and discharge dates, progress notes and diagnosis.

PeaceHealth officials say patient Social Security numbers and financial information were not accessed and officials do not believe any affected patients are at risk for identity theft.

An investigation revealed the employee accessed patient information between November 2011 and July 2017.

Officials say the employee no longer works for PeaceHealth.

The medical center is sending letters to affected people, apologizing and informing them of a call center where they can ask questions.