Data breach reported at Brigham and Women’s/Faulkner

A doctor from Brigham and Women’s/Faulkner Hospital lost an external hard drive on June 21, and the device may have contained medical information for 638 patients.

The Brigham has sent a letter to those patients describing the problem. Patients who have questions can call toll-free at 877-694-3367.

Information related to inpatient hospital stays from July 10, 2009, to January 28, 2011, may have been on the device, including patient names, medical record numbers, dates of admission, medications, and information about diagnosis and treatment. The device did not contain Social Security numbers, insurance numbers or other financial account information.

The hospital “takes the privacy and security of our patients’ information very seriously. We are taking steps to reduce the risk of such events occurring in the future, including addressing the incident specifically with those involved, reviewing and augmenting our policies and procedures, and enhancing our training regarding technical safeguards required on external hard drives that may contain sensitive data, as well as limiting the amount of data stored on such devices,’’ said Sue Schade, chief information officer, in a news release.

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She said the hospital has no knowledge that the information on the device has been accessed. However, as a precaution, the hospital is offering patients identity protection services.

“We apologize for any inconvenience and deeply regret any concern this situation may cause our patient,’’ Schade said.

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