The University of Miami disclosed on Friday that one of its storage vendors lost a number of back-up tapes containing the personal information of more than two million patients.
The university, located in Coral Gables, Fla., said in a news release that the data includes names, Social Security numbers, addresses and health information for patients of University of Miami physicians or anyone who visited a university health facility since Jan. 1, 1999.
The university did not say how many individuals were affected, but the Miami Herald reported on Friday that the total could be as high as 2.1 million people. The school did say that it planned to alert 47,000 patients whose credit card and other financial data were on the lost tapes.
Officials do not believe any of the tapes, which were lost when a container carrying them was stolen March 17 in downtown Coral Gables, can be accessed "because of the complex and proprietary format in which they were written."
"Even though I am confident that our patients' data is safe, we felt that in the best interest of the physician-patient relationship, we should be transparent in this matter," Pascal Goldschmidt, senior vice president of medical affairs and dean of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said in the release.