A simple data entry error in March caused a data breach affecting 8,330 patients of Louisiana State University Health System in Shreveport, La.

The error, in which patients received bills with incorrect information, was made on March 11 at Siemens Healthcare, which does outsourced physician billing services for LSU Health. The university learned of problems when it starting getting phone calls from patients on March 18, according to a joint notification from Siemens and LSU.

“After an investigation, it was discovered that an error had occurred in one computer data entry field,” the notice explains. “When printing statements March 11, 2013, this error caused the names and treatment information for one patient to incorrectly align with another person’s mailing address.”

The university does not believe financial information was compromised as no Social Security numbers, financial account numbers or dates of birth were in the erroneous billings, which have been corrected. Notification letters were mailed on May 15.

Siemens Healthcare issued the following statement:

"Siemens Healthcare printed and mailed the referenced 8,330 patient statements on March 11 using input data that was provided by the customer. This incident resulted from a unique configuration and incorrect data provided by LSU, who is using a non-Siemens product for enterprise financials that feeds data. When we provide these services on behalf of any provider organization, we take the utmost precautions with protected healthcare information. We have taken steps to ensure that this error does not happen again and we regret any inconvenience experienced by patients."

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