A briefcase containing private patient information was stolen from a Covenant Health employee last month.

Officials told CTV News that the briefcase was taken from the worker’s vehicle on December 23.

“We then started the process within Covenant Health to identify what information specifically was missing,” chief quality and privacy officer, Jon Popwich, explained.

Popowich confirmed that the information of 41 people had been inside the case.

Nine of those were resumes while the rest were health-related information documents on patients.

“They were discharge summary documents that were copies, they weren’t originals. They were being used for the purposes of quality improvement.”

On December 24 the organization made the relevant calls to the Privacy Commissioner and police. On December 27 the situation was reported to Alberta Health Services.  

“We take this responsibility very, very seriously. It is a trust, a sacred trust that we hold this kind of sensitive information,” he said, offering an apology.

The briefcase was found by a citizen, Popwich explained, and returned to the organization.

Regardless, on January 8 officials with Covenant Health began informing those whose information had been affected.

“We reviewed the briefcase, the contents, to ensure that everything was there and none of that had in fact been taken from the briefcase but all the same, people’s information had been compromised.

“There is a very remote possibility that somebody could have misused that information and put it back in the briefcase. I think that is highly unlikely but all the same we wanted to let people know what happened.”

Popwich said the organization was reviewing the incident and their privacy policies, which were expected to be finished this spring.

With files from Amanda Anderson