7 celebrity data breaches: When employees snoop on high-profile patients

While large-scale data breaches are often the result of cyberattacks from outsiders, insider threats present a significant danger to healthcare organizations. Since hospital employees have access to EHRs, there is the risk they may access records outside of their traditional job duties — especially if hospital patients are high-profile individuals or celebrities.

ProPublica recently compiled a list of high-profile data breaches where hospital employees inappropriately snooped at medical records of celebrities and the consequences the employees faced.

George Clooney: In October 2007, 27 workers at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, N.J., were suspended without pay for one month after looking at Mr. Clooney's medical record. He was being treated there after a motorcycle accident.

Britney Spears: In March 2008, Ms. Spears was hospitalized in UCLA Medical Center's psychiatric unit. The hospital fired at least 13 employees and suspended at least six others who looked at her medical record.

Richard Collier: Twenty workers were fired from Jacksonville (Fla.) Medical Center for looking at the former Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive tackle's medical records in November 2008. He was hospitalized after a shooting.

Nadya Suleman: Ms. Suleman gave birth to octuplets at Kaiser Permanente's Bellflower, Calif., hospital. In March 2009, 21 employees and two physicians unrelated to her care accessed her records. Fifteen workers were either terminated or resigned, and eight faced disciplinary actions. Additionally, the hospital faced a $250,000 fine from the California Department of Public Health for failing to protect Ms. Suleman's records.

Michael Jackson: Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center fired two hospital workers and two contract employees who accessed Mr. Jackson's medical records in June 2010. The California Department of Public Health also fined the hospital $95,000.

Gabrielle Giffords: In January 2011, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was hospitalized after a shooting. Three employees and a contract nurse were fired from University Medical Center in Tucson (Ariz.).

Kim Kardashian: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles fired five workers and a student research assistant for inappropriately accessing Ms. Kardashian's medical record. She gave birth to her daughter at the hospital in June 2013.

Click here for ProPublica's full list.

More articles on data breaches:

Legal perspective: 6 key points on data breaches
1-in-3 health records will be compromised in 2016: 5 things to know
11 latest healthcare data breaches

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