In the electronic world we find ourselves in, many records from a variety of sources have gone digital. In an effort to streamline and increase efficiency, records ranging from office visits to business transactions are scanned in for easy dissemination. Additionally, records from offices are sometimes shipped to third parties for copying and scanning if a particular office does not have the capacity to do so. While this may not have any real implication for some documents- when it comes to highly sensitive information such as medical records, litigation has boomed.
In some situations patients have been apprised by hospitals, clinics, or doctors’ offices that there has been an unauthorized disclosure of their medical records. Sometimes this comes in the form of requested medical records being sent to the wrong office, or an office receiving the wrong medical records, or even a mistake as to a name. For instance, if Jane Doe (born in 1967) requests her medical records and she receives the medical records belonging to Jane Doe (born in 1990)- there has been an unauthorized access of medical records. Medical records contain some of our most highly personal, sensitive, and confidential information- and as such- when those records are disseminated without our permission, this can be actionable.
Under M.G.L. Chapter 214 § 1B:
A person shall have right against unreasonable, substantial or serious interference with his privacy. The superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to enforce such right in connection therewith to award damages.