SMS reminders sent wrongly to 240,000 people by the Hospital Authority

The Hospital Authority mistakenly resent SMS messages to 240,000 people who had undergone Covid-19 testing between February and March this year.

Since December 2020, the authority has helped the government send SMS messages to remind members of the public of accessing their Covid-19 test results through the electronic testing record website.

The HA information technology staff discovered yesterday evening that SMS messages had been mistakenly sent again to around 240,000 members of the public during system maintenance.

The affected people had taken their tests between February 13 and March 29 either by collecting deep throat saliva specimen packs at various sites or being tested at community testing centers.

The message contains only a specimen pack number and website link, but no personal information or test results. People who received the messages were not able to access the results of the tests conducted in the period, as the electronic testing record system only facilitates inquiry on and downloading of test results conducted within 31 days.

The incident has been reported to the Food and Health Bureau.

“Preliminary findings showed no laboratory service involved, nor any delay in test result notification for other people,” HA said.

The authority said it apologized to the affected people and will send another SMS message informing them to ignore the message they received yesterday evening.

The authority will conduct a thorough review of the system and workflow, investigate the cause of the incident and rectify the error.

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