A missing laptop computer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center has warranted the organization to issue a breach notification to the general public.
UMMC cannot determine what information was on the clinician-shared computer that was only occasionally used in a non-public part of a unit of the hospital. Because of insufficient contact information available for patients whose information was on the laptop, individual notifications are not possible, the organization says in a statement.
The laptop may have contained names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, diagnoses, medications, treatments and other clinical information for any or all adult patients given inpatient care between 2008 and January 2013. The likelihood is that no data has been compromised, according to UMMC, since a database accessible to the computer had not been accessed since November 2012. However, the hospital decided it has to cast a wide net in assessing the potential scope of the breach, according to a spokesperson.
A shared drive on the database will enable the hospital, upon a patient calling for more information on the breach, to identify if any financial information about the patient is on the shared drive. If financial information is on the drive, the hospital will give the patient instructions on getting a credit report and protecting their credit. If that offer is not satisfactory, the hospital will offer the patient free credit monitoring services, the spokesperson says. A handful of patients have called in recent days and none of them had financial information on the drive.
The university in 2012 encrypted its laptops, but the missing one was only occasionally used and in a back area of the facility, which may have been a factor in why it wasn’t encrypted, says the spokesperson.
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