All the board members of the information technology subsidiary of Helse Sør-Øst, Norway’s biggest regional health care provider, were fired on Wednesday by the chairman of Helse Sør-Øst, Ann Kristin Olsen. The mass firing comes after state broadcaster NRK reported how contracted workers for the subsidiary in Asia and Eastern Europe were wrongfully granted access to sensitive patient information.
The overseas workers had been hired by the IT subsidiary for Helse Sør-Øst, called Sykeshuspartner, in an outsourcing move meant to save money. Instead NRK revealed what’s been called an “IT scandal” that’s exposed confidential health information involving around 2.8 million Norwegians.
Olsen and Cathrine Lofthus, chief executive of Helse Sør-Øst, have been under fire themselves for reportedly being unaware of how Sykehuspartner was operating. Now Olsen is on the offensive, holding Sykehuspartner’s board responsible for the breach in security.
NRK reported Wednesday that Olsen has named Morten Thorkildsen, a long-time chief of IBM Norge, as new chairman of Sykehuspartner, replacing Thomas Bagley, who was forced to resign as both chairman of Sykehuspartner and technology director for Helse Sør-Øst. An external investigation had revealed that Helse Sør-Øst lacked control over access to its IT systems and patient journals.
Board members Bjørn Erikstein, Marianne Andreassen, Hanne Gaaserød and Marianne Johnsen have now also been fired, replaced by Anne Kari Lande Hasle, Eivind Gjemdal, Anita Schumacher and Just Ebbesen, all of whom are said to have solid IT competence and broad experience within health care and public management.