Another Stolen Laptop - Another HIPAA Breach

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This time the institution is Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The personal laptop of a physician was stolen and the hospital now is notifying almost 4000 patients about the breach of their personal health information.

The laptop contained summaries of medical information used for administrative purposes and about 225 administrative employee records, according to the hospital.

The employee records included Social Security numbers and the hospital is offering paid credit and identity theft protection services. The laptop, containing a tracking device, was stolen from the physician’s office on May 22, but the tracker has not been activated and the computer has not been recovered. Still, police have arrested a suspect.

Episodes such as this underscore the need for all portable media to be fully encrypted to the level specified in Federal Document FIPS 140-2. There are many programs which can be used to encrypt your hard drive. Now may be the right time to encrypt your hard drive if you are storing e-PHI (electronic protected health information) on your laptop.