A physician’s stolen laptop that wasn’t properly backed up is compelling LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans to take the unusual step of publicly identifying the physician to better ensure all affected patients may be identified.
Christopher Roth, M.D., assistant professor of urology, left the laptop in his car the night of July 16 and discovered the theft the following morning. However, data on the laptop had been backed up only to the device’s hard drive and not to the Health Sciences Center servers.
That started an eight-week effort to reconstruct files that could have been on the laptop and then prepare for an initial notification of about 5,000 minor patients and their parents, according to a statement from LSU. “While the exhaustive investigation appears to have found thousands of patients, others may remain unidentified.”
Consequently, LSU is asking patients of Dr. Roth, from July 2009 to July 16, 2015, who do not receive a notification to contact the university. Compromised data included names, birth dates, treatments and treatment dates, conditions, outcomes, lab results, radiological and ultrasound images, medical record numbers, and diagnosis and treatment information, according to LSU.
No financial or Social Security information was on the laptop. While no evidence has been found that data was accessed or used, the university is offering one year of paid credit monitoring services and recommending affected patients visit identitytheft.gov.
The LSU statement also noted that appropriate disciplinary action will be taken once the investigation is completed, and information security policies and procedures are being reviewed to assess necessary improvements. The university did not respond to a request for additional information.
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