Telus Health Babylon app under investigation

Ponoka physician reminds residents BRMC is still responding to health needs

The Babylon Telus Health app, which was to give Albertans an alternative way to seek medical advice, is now under investigation by the Information Privacy Commissioner, Jill Clayton.

Telus Health announced on March 19, 2020 that it had partnered with the Government of Alberta to deliver physician services via smartphones.

READ MORE: Albertans can now meet with Alberta-licensed physicians through their smartphone

According to a news release from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPC) dated April 21, the investigation was opened due to separate privacy impact assessments (PIAs) that a Calgary-based physician and Babylon Health Canada Limited had submitted on the app.

“No one is required to use Babylon by Telus Health. I encourage physicians or patients with concerns about this app to remain opted out of using it while my office reviews the app’s compliance with Alberta’s privacy laws,” said Clayton in the release.

Battle River Medical Clinic (BRMC) is reminding residents that physicians at the clinic are offering telephone appointments every day of the week and advises it will be launching video-conferencing appointments soon.

“We want to reiterate that Ponoka’s physicians are here for our patients,” said Dr. Gregory Sawisky, a BRMC physician.

“Patients are often able to get a phone call back from their doctor the same day. If their doctor is unavailable, the Daily Access Clinic doctor can call them back.”

Sawisky says Babylon’s physicians do not have access to your health records, your medical history or your medication and sometimes don’t even reside in Alberta.

“We strongly object to the creation of a separate app that does nothing to improve patient care, especially when we have been working hard to adapt to the pandemic with telephone appointments,” he said.

“Sadly, the provincial government has been promoting this app over patients seeing their own physician digitally. We are beginning to wonder when Jason Kenney’s assault on health care in this province will end.”

The OIPC will be looking into compliance concerns that were identified during the PIA review, as well as whether the app complies with Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act and Health Information Act.

The investigation has the NDP Opposition Critic for Health David Shepherd calling for UCP Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s resignation.

“Albertans have a right to expect their privacy and health information will be handled with the greatest respect and in accordance with the law,” said Shepherd in an NDP news release on April 21, adding these issues should have been addressed before the app was launched.

“I am very concerned that Tyler Shandro signed a contract, launched the app, and has energetically promoted it using his position as Minister, all before these serious privacy issues were addressed. It is yet another damning indictment of his performance as Health Minister. He must resign.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusHealth

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta reports just seven new COVID-19 cases

‘Today’s numbers mark an occasion to be celebrated’

Broncs to hold virtual camp, free of charge

Broncs Virtual Camp for grades 6 to 11 will begin June 9

Still no confirmed active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer, central zone

There are 15 new confirmed cases were in Alberta, the province said Thursday

UPDATE: Poster contest extended

Kids have one more week to get their entries in

Part II: Calkins says Canada can’t sustain long-term shutdown

Reopening Alberta now is a ‘difficult balancing question’

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta

Community organizers come on the show to discuss central Albertan anti-racist movement

Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara faces assault, break and enter, harassment charges

Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara faces assault, break and enter, harassment charges

Black Canadians say racism here is just as harmful as in the United States

Black Canadians say racism here is just as harmful as in the United States

Implementation of Divorce Act reforms delayed eight months by pandemic

Implementation of Divorce Act reforms delayed eight months by pandemic

Canada’s James Hinchcliffe ready for Genesys 300 as IndyCar takes the stage

Canada’s James Hinchcliffe ready for Genesys 300 as IndyCar takes the stage

Racial unrest achingly familiar for Jenkins, other Canadian black athletes

Racial unrest achingly familiar for Jenkins, other Canadian black athletes

Colonial attracts top 5 in the world in return to PGA Tour

Colonial attracts top 5 in the world in return to PGA Tour

Canadian Felicia Spencer makes weight ahead of UFC 250 title bout with Nunes

Canadian Felicia Spencer makes weight ahead of UFC 250 title bout with Nunes

P.E.I. on verge of resuming soccer, with CPL possibly coming to play

P.E.I. on verge of resuming soccer, with CPL possibly coming to play

Most Read