Protected health information on 6,800 patients at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center was inadvertently displayed on the public Internet in July, the organization has announced.

The organization learned on July 29 that the information was on an employee's computer that was inadvertently open to the Internet. Statements from the organization issued on Sept. 29 announcing the breach do not say how long the information was exposed and the organization did not respond to a request for additional details.

Of the 6,800 affected patients, 10 had their Social Security numbers exposed. Other exposed information in most cases included name, age, surgical status, vital signs, medications and laboratory test results.

NewYork Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center is offering affected patients a year of free fraud and identity theft protection services. There is no evidence, according to the organization, of misuse of the data.

The organization has established an internal task force to implement enhancements to its information security. More information is available at http://nyp.org/, then click on the ! Hospital Privacy Alert icon for the statements and a link to an informational Web site.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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