Tag: Ontario

BORN Ontario data breach left health data of millions exposed. What went wrong?

A massive cyberattack that left the health data of mothers, newborn babies and parents seeking fertility treatment exposed, could have been entirely prevented if more protective measures were put in place, according to Canadian security experts.

The Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN) on Monday revealed that 3.4 million people — mostly those seeking pregnancy care and newborns who were born in Ontario — had their personal health information compromised in May.

“This is appalling,” said Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s former information and privacy commissioner. “The personal health information that was copied was collected from a large network of mostly Ontario health-care facilities.

If BORN had de-identified the data by stripping personal details such as names, health care numbers and addresses, it would have provided the “strongest protection” in the event of a data breach, she said.

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“They didn’t say that they de-identified the data and that’s the very least they should have done,” Cavoukian added.

The health-care information that was stolen may have included data such as names, addresses, date of birth, health card number (with no version code), lab results from screening and diagnostic testing, pregnancy risk factors, type of birth and procedures and birth outcomes, BORN said in a statement posted Monday.

As of publication time, there was no searchable database or clear way for the public to definitively find out if their information was compromised.

Click to play video: 'Cyber security experts say ransomware data breach in health care sector is a lesson for everyone'

Cyber security experts say ransomware data breach in health care sector is a lesson for everyone

BORN, an agency funded by the province, is responsible for gathering data related to pregnancies and births within Ontario. On Monday, it said a cybersecurity breach on May 31, 2023, had led to the exposure of data concerning 1.4 million people seeking pregnancy care and 1.9 million infants born

Breach of Ontario pregnancy and newborn care registry touches 3.4 million people

An Ontario government agency that manages data about pregnancy and newborn children in the province says the personal health information of about 3.4 million people was impacted by a data breach.

The Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN) said in an update on Monday that the May 31 cybersecurity incident was linked to the global privacy breach of the file transfer system MoveIt – the same software that exposed the personal information of some 100,000 Nova Scotians last spring.

“As a result of the incident, unauthorized parties were able to copy certain files from one of BORN’s servers. Data in the copied files included personal health information collected from primarily Ontario fertility, pregnancy, and child health care providers,” the registry wrote in a news release.

Anyone who gave birth between April 2010 and May 2023 is “likely” affected by the breach, BORN said.

Individuals who received pregnancy care between January 2012 and May 2023 are also likely affected as are those who had in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or egg banking in Ontario between January 2013 and May 2023.

BORN said that it does not collect banking details, social insurance numbers, OHIP version codes or security numbers, or patient emails addresses or passwords. As such, BORN said, those details were not included in the incident.

“At this time, there is no evidence that any of the data copied from BORN’s systems has been misused for any fraudulent purposes. We have engaged experts to monitor the dark web for any activity related to this incident,” according to the agency.

BORN said that it began working with cybersecurity experts “immediately” after it discovered the incident and reported it to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, which it says is currently investigating the breach.

As a result of the breach,

Opposition parties call by-election referendum on Ontario health care

“It is definitely the No. 1 issue at the door.”

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Opposition politicians and candidates are painting the upcoming provincial byelection in Kanata-Carleton as a referendum on the state of health care in Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario.

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How do we fix our broken health-care system? York Region hears from head of Ontario Medical Association

Ontario has $4.4-billion more for health care programs than required: report

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Nurses tend to a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit at the Bluewater Health Hospital in Sarnia, Ont., in Jan. 2022. Ontario is seeking to recruit more nurses in underserved communities.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says the provincial government has allocated $4.4-billion more than it needs to pay for health care programs over the next three years, a “significant change” from a previous estimate that said the province would be facing a $10-billion shortfall.

A new report released Wednesday from Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office found the government now has $4.4-billion in “excess funds” budgeted for its health care programs until 2026, although more than half of that money might be needed to pay back public-sector workers who are challenging the government’s wage-cap law.

A previous report in March said Ontario needs to spend $21.3-billion more on health care to meet its own expansion targets and will be short about 33,000 nurses and personal support workers by 2027-2028.

“That $4.4-billion is a significant change from the FAO’s previous estimate of a $10-billion funding shortfall over the same period,” said Jeffrey Novak, Ontario’s acting financial accountability officer.

The reason for the change, Mr. Novak said, is that Ontario added $15.2-billion to its spending plan in the 2023 budget, “which effectively covered the shortfall we had previously identified.” The new funding is targeted primarily toward expanding capacity in long-term care, home care and hospitals, the report said, as well as a plan to shift some surgeries to private clinics. It also includes almost $1-billion for Bill 124-related retroactive wage increases.

Total health sector spending is expected to rise from almost $80-billion in 2022-2023 to $87-billion in 2025-2026, the report said, bolstered by an increase to federal health transfers.

Federal transfers to Ontario are estimated

Ontario town fights to keep ER from closing

The emergency department in Minden, Ont. is slated to close for good June 1, but residents in the town and surrounding area are prepared to head to court to try and save it.

The announcement of the ER closure by Haliburton Highlands Health Service came April 20, just six weeks before the closure and right as the area begins to swells with summer residents.

“This is a plan that is going to cost lives,” said Patrick Porzuczek, a local businessman who is spearheading a campaign called Save the Minden ER.

His grassroots group has held rallies and gathered a petition with more than 24,000 signatures. They’ve also raised more than $75,000 to cover legal fees as they prepared to file a court injunction.

“We’re not numbers, we’re not part of a morbidity and mortality rate, we’re human lives, and this has to stop,” Porzuckek said.

Haliburton Highlands Health Services, which runs the hospital, said all services would be transferred and consolidated at its Haliburton site, more than 20 minutes away from Minden.

“Staffing shortages is the biggest driver for this, without doctors and nurses we can’t run an emergency department,” said Carolyn Plummer, president and CEO of Haliburton Highlands Health Service, adding, “We were facing multiple frequent closures over the coming months if we didn’t do something.”

A critical shortage of nurses and physicians has sent a ripple effect across the country. Temporary ER closures have become routine practice in dozens of rural communities, shuttered for hours or days at a time.

“We can’t be doing this on an ad-hoc basis nationally, this is a national problem with common root causes that needs national discussion, a national dialogue, a national approach,” said Dr. Alan Drummond, an emergency room physician and co-chair of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. “I think

Ontario Hospitals Launch Health Information Exchange with Oracle

The eHub HIE gives 21 healthcare facilities comprehensive, highly secure, and searchable health records to help improve patient care.

To help improve patient care through better information access, a group of 21 Ontario-based hospitals and facilities are now benefitting from Ontario eHub Health Information Exchange (HIE) powered by Oracle Health. The Ontario eHub can help these healthcare organizations share patient data more easily and securely, reducing administrative overhead, and facilitating improved care coordination for patients. Oracle Health is teaming with TransForm Shared Service Organization to manage the project.

The initial roll-out integrates 16 long-term care facilities with five hospitals to support patients moving from acute to long-term care. The Ontario eHub will help caregivers at these facilities ease this transition by providing a clear view into each patient’s health history, care plans, medications, and more from any connected device or existing EHR system, anywhere in the facility.

‘The Ontario eHub HIE reflects Oracle’s longtime leadership in data interoperability,’ said Brian Sandager, vice president and general manager, Canada, Oracle Health. ‘Initiatives like eHub in Ontario highlight our commitment to building a more connected and open healthcare ecosystem that will help deliver better outcomes for both patients and the medical professionals that work tirelessly to serve them.’

Connecting data for better care

Oracle Health’s HIE powers the Ontario eHub with sophisticated patient matching and data aggregation capabilities that enable clinicians to organize, review, and search for information more quickly and easily. To facilitate collaboration across the province, users at every site can have a consistent experience when accessing data in the system, which can be done via the HIE portal or through a viewer embedded directly into the facility’s existing EHR.

Ontario is rapidly advancing towards more integrated systems, with the province adopting policies and establishing standards.

Lack of Ontario long COVID strategy risks care: ministry documents

Ontario’s lack of a long COVID strategy has led the health sector to cobble together “fragmented” clinics that are at risk of closure and may lead to little to no support for patients, internal Ministry of Health documents warn.

Long COVID is not yet well understood, but the current and likely rising volume of patients will have an effect on Ontario’s recovery and may place added pressures on emergency rooms, say the documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request.

“Ontario does not have a coordinated approach to care for patients with PCC (Post COVID-19 Condition),” the health ministry’s strategic policy branch wrote last June.

“While some providers are responding to the immediate demand for post-COVID care, these offerings are insufficient, fragmented, and unsustainable without dedicated funding.”

Between 10 and 20 per cent of people who have had COVID-19 still experience symptoms 12 or more weeks post-infection, the documents note. Researchers estimate 1.4 million Canadians are living with long COVID. The documents highlight possible effects on both the health-care system and the economy, with a survey suggesting more than 70 per cent of long COVID patients have had to take time off work.

Other provinces are “national leaders in PCC care,” the document says, pointing to British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

Health ministry mum on plans for care

Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore have made conflicting statements as to whether a long COVID strategy is in the works, so The Canadian Press submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents include an undated 34-page record withheld in its entirety because it would reveal cabinet deliberations, a two-part presentation to the health minister’s office from the strategic policy branch in October, and an almost entirely redacted document from December

Ontario funding cuts: Digital well being care entry stripped

Amid a developing lack of family medical doctors and rising strain on Canada’s healthcare facility units, current funding alterations have slashed accessibility to digital care in Ontario — forcing some people to opt for between a most likely pointless emergency home take a look at and shelling out out of pocket for care that employed to be cost-free, according to the founder of a single virtual care platform.

That system, referred to as Rocket Medical professional, says cuts to funding have had a extraordinary impact on its skill to deliver providers to people.

The platform operates in B.C., Alberta and Ontario, but it has been asking Ontario people to spend out of pocket ever since the province stripped funding to physicians featuring virtual care in December. One more virtual care system, Kixcare, switched to a compensated format in reaction to the funding adjust as properly.

Dr. William Cherniak is an unexpected emergency care medical doctor and the founder of Rocket Health care provider, wherever clients can hook up to a physician on the web by partnerships with hospitals for different principal treatment issues, these kinds of as consultations, prescriptions or lab do the job referrals.

“I imagine the authorities has a incredibly difficult job to do to consider to sort out the place to allocate funds in the overall health-care program, but I assume just one of the issues that transpired, distinct to our software, is as a Canadian technological innovation firm, we help physicians to follow medication pretty much, and then aid them co-ordinate that into a technique of treatment.” Cherniak advised CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday.

“And when people cuts occurred in December, dropping reimbursement by 50 per cent for spouse and children unexpected emergency doctors who had not seen a individual

Ontario to permit health and fitness-treatment employees to perform ‘outside of their typical responsibilities’ amid scarcity

Critics of the federal government say they’re concerned modifications to well being-treatment worker polices will eventually place patients at risk

EDITOR’S Note: This posting originally appeared on The Trillium, a new Village Media website devoted solely to masking provincial politics at Queen’s Park.

The Ontario govt is organizing to enable health-treatment industry experts to “perform exterior of their typical obligations” in purchase to ease the influence of the serious lack of nurses, health professionals and other health and fitness-care personnel.

The announcement came Thursday after critics of the Ford government said they’re involved that the health and fitness minister’s most current monthly bill will “deregulate” overall health professionals in the province and allow reduced-paid out, reduced-qualified staff to acquire on duties performed by doctors and nurses right now.

“It signifies that a physician performing in a for-gain surgical suite could incredibly properly seek the services of his mother-in-law hairdresser, convey her into his business and connect with her a nurse, and that hairdresser that he will get in touch with the nurse could begin your IV, could place in a catheter, and could give you a narcotics, and could do a entire bunch of restricted acts,” said France Gélinas, the NDP’s health and fitness critic, along with the Ontario Health and fitness Coalition, a group that advocates for community overall health treatment, at a press conference Thursday.

A govt spokesperson verified strategies to improve the scope of observe of regulated overall health professions to let distinctive varieties of wellbeing-care workers to do a lot more issues, but offered illustrations of variations below consideration that are far narrower than the critics fear. 

“Our government’s Your Health Act, if handed, will maximize staffing stages on a brief-term basis to manage intervals of superior affected person volume by permitting well being-treatment

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