St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Md., has notified 161 cardiology patients after a law firm employee lost a portable hard drive containing protected health information.

The employee of the firm Baxter, Baker, Sidle, Conn & Jones on August 4 left the back-up drive on a train, according to the Baltimore Sun, which obtained a notification letter from a patient. Protected information--on the drive because of a malpractice lawsuit by patients who received a stent--included name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and insurance information.

The hospital letter to patients said the information on the drive is not accessible without specialized software, hardware and expertise, according to the newspaper. The law firm now encrypts data and is considering off-site data storage. The hospital is offering affected patients one year of identity theft protection services.


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