Students had access to Amsterdam hospital's patient files for years: report

Hospital OLVG in Amsterdam
The OLVG hospital in Amsterdam Oost. Feb. 25, 2014Photo: Apus apusWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

For years students with a part-time job at Amsterdam hospital OLVG had access to confidential and very personal patient files. This involved almost all patients who visited the hospital over the past 15 years, the Volkskrant reports. The hospital confirmed the leak to the newspaper.

The leak was discovered in August last year by a philosophy student who answered the phone and made appointments for the hospital's outpatient clinic. She informed the management of the hospital that she could see all of the patients' confidential medical information. 

According to the hospital, this problem was caused by wrong software settings. The working students' profiles were unintentionally set up to allow them to look up patients from all departments. OLVG told the newspaper that the leak was immediately fixed after the philosophy student reported the problem. 

But other students told the Volkskrant that they still had access to patient files after September last year. An an internal email dating from February this year, which the newspaper has in its possession, says that "the specific problems surrounding the authorizations of working students are still happening".