Hospital reports breach of data
A MAJOR hospital which reported a potential breach of patient data security to a state watchdog yesterday said it did so "as a precautionary measure".
Tallaght Hospital defended its role after it was revealed it hired a firm to process patients' medical files, which were sent to the Philippines to be processed.
It said it had notified the Data Protection Commissioner of "unsubstantiated allegations" about the unauthorised disclosure of patient information. But is said it had received no evidence that any such data had been accessed or disclosed without authorisation.
The hospital broke its silence on the controversy last night after it was revealed that the Data Protection Commissioner was probing a possible infringement of data security at the facility.
The hospital must draw up a written report within days after it sent the confidential documents to a private company to be typed, even though the data was encrypted to conceal identities.
It is understood the firm, which has Dublin offices, sent the patient data -- including medical reports and GP letters -- to the Philippines to be transcribed. In a statement, the hospital said it had found it efficient and cost-effective to outsource some transcription services and insisted that personal data was protected.
"Such data is encrypted and the company concerned is bound by a confidentiality agreement," it said.