Laptop theft at Stanford children's hospital risks data of 57K

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An unencrypted laptop containing the medical information of several thousand patients of a Palo Alto, Calif.-based children's hospital was lost or stolen.  

How many victims? 57,000.

What type of personal information? Names, birth dates, basic medical descriptors, medical record numbers, and, in some cases, limited contact information.

What happened? On Jan. 9, a password-protected laptop was stolen from the car of a doctor at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (LPCH), affiliated with Stanford University. The car was parked at an off-campus location when the theft occurred.

What was the response? A toll-free line was set up for affected patients, and LPCH is offering free identity protection services. Police are investigating.

Details: The data on the stolen laptop was predominantly from patients who received care in 2009. In 2010, a similar breach occurred affecting 532 patients. That incident also involved a stolen unencrypted laptop. The California Department of Public Health hit LPCH with a $250,000 fine for its delayed response to the 2009 breach, but the penalty was later reduced to $1,100.

Quote: “We really strive to be industry leaders in information security and we're using the theft to further strengthen policies and controls surrounding the protection of patient data,” Robert Dicks, an LPCH spokesman said.

Source: www.stanforddaily.com, The Stanford Daily, Laptop theft compromises Packard hospital information,” Jan. 24, 2013.

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