Breach, Data Security

Laptop containing UCSF medical school patient information stolen

A laptop containing sensitive patient information was recently stolen from an employee of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine.

How many victims? 4,400.

What type of personal information? Names, medical record numbers, ages and clinical information.

The stolen laptop did not contain any Social Security numbers or financial data.

What happened? The laptop was stolen on Nov. 30. UCSF's police department began an investigation Dec. 1, and the laptop was recovered in Southern California on Jan. 8.

Details: The UCSF Enterprise Information Security department determined that a file on the laptop contained “limited” information for some patients about their treatment at the medical center in 2008 and 2009.

In addition, the laptop also contained files from the employee's prior employer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Those files contained data about Beth Israel patients.

Quote: “There is no indication that unauthorized access to the files or the laptop actually took place,” UCSF said in a statement.

What was the response? The university is alerting affected individuals. In addition, a toll-free number (1-877-809-1270 ext. 74005) was established to provide more information about the breach.

Source:, San Francisco Business Times, “UCSF says laptop with 4,400 patient records stolen, then recovered,” Jan. 27, 2010.

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