Washington University in St. Louis has notified more than 1,000 patients about a data breach after the surgeon who treated them over the past decade had his laptop stolen during a conference in Argentina.
The theft occurred on Nov. 28, 2012, and the university learned about it the following day. Information on the unencrypted laptop included names, birth dates, medical record numbers, diagnoses, types and dates of surgery and 39 Social Security numbers, according to the university, which is offering identity protection services.
The university does not believe the computer was taken for the information it contains, according to statement. “We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our patients. To help prevent something like this from occurring in the future, we are expanding our use of encryption on portable devices and re-educating our workforce members regarding the importance of handling patient information securely.”
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