Breach, Data Security

Northwestern Memorial HealthCare laptop stolen, patient data at risk

A Northwestern Memorial HealthCare (NMHC) laptop was stolen from an employee's vehicle, putting Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Northwestern Medical Group patient data at risk.

How many victims? 2,800, according to reports. 

What type of personal information? Names, addresses, dates of birth, health insurance information, billing codes, dates of services, physician's names, medical record numbers, diagnoses, treatment information, and Social Security numbers.

What happened? A password protected, unencrypted laptop containing the information was stolen from an employee's vehicle.

What was the response? Law enforcement was notified. NMHC is confirming and ensuring encryption of all laptop computers, and reinforcing education with staff on the importance of handling patient information securely. All affected patients are being notified.

Details: The theft occurred on Oct. 21.  

Quote: “At this time, we have no knowledge that this information has been used in any way,” according to a notification posted to the NMHC website.

Source:, “Notice To Northwestern Memorial HealthCare Patients Regarding Privacy Incident,” December 2014.

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