Tag Archives: Southern District Health Board

Southern District Health Board Suffers Data Loss

The Southern District Health Board (DHB) has suffered from a data loss incident which has resulted in thousands of breast examination images being lost.

The images that have been lost were taken between 1st February 2012 and 31st October 2012 but will do little to reassure the affected patients that their personal data is in safe hands. It isn’t all doom and gloom for the Southern DHB as all of the images that have been lost had been reported on by a senior doctor and all the results have been filed away in the patient’s case notes.

The data loss has been blamed on a server failure which was incorrectly configured. As a result of this, the images were not backed up and have therefore been lost.

Kevin Hague who is the Green Party health spokesman claims that hose affected will feel very uneasy about the Southern DHB’s system security and that it is very surprising such incidents are still occurring after previous problems.

Hague stated, “There’s going to be a lot of women in the Otago and Southland area who are going to be feeling pretty anxious about that, and a larger number still who are anxious about the security of the DHB’s systems overall, not just in this particular area.

Hague added, “I would have thought that after all of the problems around loss of data, loss of information over the past several years, that district health boards would now be sensitive to these issues, and these sorts of problems would have stopped occurring. It is deeply disturbing that that’s not the case, and I believe that some kind of investigation of that is also warranted.”

Carole Heatly who is the Southern DHB chief executive has been keen to stress that there have been no changes in the patient’s mammogram outcomes and that they have contacted each person affected.

Heatly stated, “The patients and the GPs have been informed of the results so there’s no clinical risk to these women. However, in the spirit of open disclosure, we’ve written to every woman affected and to their GPs to first and foremost apologise and to reassure them that their images, whilst lost from the server, have been reported on by a senior clinician and those reports have been retained in their case notes.”

Heatly added, “We encourage anyone who needs more information to call our contact line, and I would like to again apologise for this error.”

This case demonstrates the importance of having a robust backup solution in place which has easy to understand reporting. If the Southern DHB did this, they would have realised that the data wasn’t being backed up and therefore adjustments could have been made before the server failed.

Backup status reporting is often overlooked when choosing a backup solution but is one of the most valuable aspects as it helps you to have a proper understanding with the status of your backups and whether there have been any problems.

Does the backup solution that you utilise have an easy to understand reporting system?

Are you confident that you can successfully restore your data in the event of a disaster?

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