【Joint Statement of Condemnation towards the Hospital Authority for Exposing Patient Information to the Police Force】
In a press conference held this afternoon, Dr Hon Pierre Chan, member of the Legislative Council for the Medical functional constituency, showcased evidence of a “backdoor” in the Hospital Authority’s electronic patient record (ePR) system that grants anyone access to patient information without the need of logging in. The interface is remarked with “For Police”, and exposes information including patients’ full name, HK Identity Card number, age, sex, phone number, admission time and ward, with indication of whether they have participated in the “mass gathering outside Legco”. Dr Hon Chan has also acquired an earlier email circulating in the Hospital Authority intranet showing frontline healthcare staff being requested to identify and label patients who have participated in the “mass gathering outside Legco”.
We, as medical students from the University of Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong, hereby strongly condemn the Hospital Authority for infringing upon patients’ privacy. “Confidentiality” is one of the four pillars of medical ethics, and is the cornerstone of the doctor-patient relationship. As the largest public healthcare provider in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority has violated the medical code of conduct by exposing patients’ information to the police without patient consent nor clinical necessity. Since last week, the police have been arresting injured protesters receiving medical care within Hospital Authority premises, sabotaging doctor-patient trust and deterring citizens from seeking medical attention in public hospitals.
The Hospital Authority must apologise to all affected citizens in Hong Kong, conduct a formal inquiry into the incident and block the backdoor immediately. We also call for investigatory action from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data of Hong Kong to protect citizens’ rights to privacy.
Eramedics, HKU Medical Students’ Current Affairs Concern Group
Medical Society, HKUSU
Nursing Society, Medical Society, HKUSU
Medical Society, CUSU
Nursing Society, the Nethersole School of Nursing, CUSU
Elected Student Senator (Faculty of Medicine), CUHK