Breach, Mobile

Laptop containing health data stolen from Boston hospital

July 23, 2012

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston is warning thousands of patients that their personal health information was contained on a laptop that was stolen.

How many victims? About 3,900.

What type of personal information? Short summaries of unspecified medical data.

What happened? The computer was stolen from the office of a BIDMC doctor on May 22.

What was the response? The hospital is notifying victims. Meanwhile, police have arrested a suspect in the theft. Internally, the medical center plans to bolster its physical security and is launching an awareness campaign around data protection. In addition, BIDMC has contracted with a forensic firm to determine if any of the private data was accessed, but it does not appear as if any information has yet been misused.

Details: The computer contained a tracking device, but the device has not been activated. It is unclear why not.

Quote: "We deeply regret and apologize for any concern or inconvenience this situation may cause our patients and families," said John Halamaka, the hospital's CIO.

Source:, BIDMC news release, "BIDMC Notifying Patients of Potential Computer Data Breach," July 23, 2012.

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