A home burglary has jeopardized information of about 14,000 Oregon Health & Science University Hospital patients and 200 employees.
The hospital says a USB drive was stolen after an employee took it home accidentally in his briefcase. Then someone broke in to the home July 4-5 and stole the briefcase along with several other items.
This does not impact all patients, but affects a limited number of premature pediatric patients who were screened for vision issues.
The list is connected to premature pediatric patients who were screened for vision issues.
OHSU says in most cases the data is very limited and none of it is typically used for theft.
Nearly all the patient data was password-protected, and all of the data can only be opened by software not commonly found on personal computers.
Letters have been sent out to 702 families to let them know about the theft.
Since the theft occurred, OHSU has conducted an extensive investigation into exactly what was taken and the steps needed to access the password-protected data and open the files in a readable format.
"Based on the home burglary investigation, the motive of the thieves appeared to be stealing items, such as jewelry, that could quickly be resold for money," explained Ron Marcum, M.D., interim chief corporate integrity officer in the OHSU Integrity Office. "It's likely that the USB drive was never the target. In fact, other computer equipment in the home was left untouched. Nevertheless, based on our investigation, we are contacting families because we think it's the right thing to do. We are also reporting the theft to the federal office that manages health information privacy and a police report was filed."
Normally that USB is locked up in a secure location.
Following is a list of the data contained on the stolen drive:
Pediatric patient information (name, date of birth, phone number, address, OHSU medical record number, and a one- to four-word description of the patient's medical condition, or family medical history in some cases) for approximately 14,300 patients. The data is gathered to track the results of vision screenings for newborns born prematurely. Nearly all of this data is password-protected, and all of it is in an uncommon file format. A subset of the data for these patients was slightly more sensitive because it contains data that is considered more personal. These patients (702 in total) are receiving letters from OHSU this week.
A database of OHSU staff information, including names, Social Security numbers, addresses, employment-related vaccination information for 195 OHSU employees.
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