Patient Information At Risk After Laptop Stolen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fairview and North Memorial hospitals are working to alert their patients after a laptop containing patient information was stolen from a locked car.

The health systems are sending letters to nearly 16,000 patients apologizing for the incident and offering free identity protection services.

Letters were sent to about 14,000 connected with Fairview and another 2,800 patients with North Memorial.

The laptop was stolen in a Minneapolis restaurant parking lot. Police were contacted and the cast is still under investigation.

According to health officials, there hasn’t been any evidence that the patient information has been accessed or misused. The computer contained files containing Fairview patient names, addresses, dates of birth and account balances. Fairview also said some patients’ social security numbers were also on the laptop.

Credit card numbers or other financial information was not on the laptop, according to Fairview.

Also, spokespersons from North Memorial said that the computer contained patient names, medical record numbers and other limited clinical information from their hospital, as well, but did not contain the same information on patients as was reported by Fairview.

Officials say the laptop belonged to an employee of Accretive Health, a healthcare firm that provides business and patient care coordination services for Fairview.

Both Fairview and Accretive Health have policies and procedures that require all laptops to be fully encrypted. However, an investigation showed the laptop that was stolen was only password protected but not encrypted, so the files are potentially at risk of being accessed.

Accretive Health said they acknowledged this mistake and have invested in technology to ensure this does not happen again.

Fairview is offering free identity theft protection and fraud monitoring services for its affected patients, which will be paid for by Accretive Health.

  • Patient Information At Risk After Fairview Laptop Stolen | Computers Blog Online

    […] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptFairview Health Services is working to alert its patients after a laptop containing patient information was stolen from a locked car. […]

  • poodie

    Why is my personal information freely traveling around the cities in someones car?

    This company should be sued by everyone affected.

    • Who cares

      We’re going to find out about your gender reassignment surgery Poodie? Or is that Poodle?

    • SSClander

      right, why is someone traveling with personal informations. why intheir laptob but not the other computers inthe facility..

    • Ferris Lind

      i hear ya .. gotta ask the wife about this when she gets home

  • Me

    Hey, Fairview – HIPAA, look it up.

    • yep

      really!? you obviously didnt read the article when it says that it was a laptop from an accretive health employee….??? and also that it is patients from North Memorial too.

  • morgan

    If there is indeed info on a laptop and it is not protected their IS staff should be held accountable.

  • Me

    This staff could have been a traveling nurse. My aunt, who moved in with my family because she could no longer take care of herself due to cancer, had a nurse that came to our house. She brought a laptop with and checked her vitals.

  • DoctorJim

    Hay Me,
    Yet that information can be uploaded when the nurse can access a company server or right then by a transmitter (like a cell phone) and she can down load just the data needed for the next day etc. No need to carry around everyones information all the time. When PHI data like this gets lost the more people’s information = more HIPPA fines and more cost to cover credit protection.

  • clean

    I noticed that person using the restroom. Sign means employee must wash his/her paws before returning to work. That employee had icky hands, poopy, hands, oily hands, dirty hands, and also smelly hands.

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  • Jessica Sunderland

    Somebody stole my computer some years ago. I was delighted when I found out about a new product called LaptopTrace. I have the free version installed on my office laptop and at home. You just never can be sure enough. It allows you to track your laptop online in case of theft.

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  • MN’s AG Releases Scathing Report On Accretive Health Inc. « CBS Minnesota

    […] case cracked open in July of 2011 when an Accretive executive had a laptop stolen from his car, containing the private medical information of 23,000 Minnesotans. Swanson says her investigation […]

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