Health care firm fined £200,000 after patients’ confidential conversations were revealed online

An English private health company has been fined £200,000 after its Indian subcontractor failed to keep fertility patients’ personal information secure.

An investigation was commenced in April 2015 when a patient found that transcripts including details from interviews with hospital patients could be freely accessed by searching online.

The investigation revealed the hospital had been routinely sending unencrypted audio records of the interviews by email to the Indian subcontractor. Details of private conversations between a doctor and various hospital patients wishing to undertake fertility treatment were transcribed in India and then sent back to the hospital. It was found that the Indian company could not restrict access to the personal information because it stored audio files and transcripts using an unsecure server.

The English company was fined as it had breached the Data Protection Act 1998 by failing to ensure that its sub-contractor acted responsibly in compliance with the Data Protection Act.

This case shows the importance of ensuring that appropriate subcontracts are in place and enforced. If you feel your subcontracts might need checking, I would be happy to help.

Please drop me an email or give me a call.

Karen Mason

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