HealthTexas Provider Network, a subsidiary of the Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System, has notified approximately 7,400 patients of the potential compromise of their Social Security numbers and other personal health information, after a laptop containing the data was stolen in September.
Baylor said Monday that the network also is contacting an additional 100,000 people whose records on the laptop contained a ‘limited amount’ of health information—though not Social Security numbers.
The laptop was left overnight by an employee in her car, from which it was stolen in mid-September. The computer was used mainly for administrative purposes and therefore, did not contain comprehensive patient histories, Baylor said. The employee from whom the laptop was stolen has been fired, a Baylor spokeswoman told Computerworld.
David Winter, MD, chairman of HealthTexas, said that “the laptop did not contain comprehensive patient medical records, and, according to law enforcement officials, it is rare that incidents such as this result in identity theft.”
The data consisted of names of patients and medical codes relating to their treatment. The codes are a series of numbers requiring a medical code book to interpret, according to Nikki Mitchell, a Baylor spokeswoman.
However, individuals whose Social Security numbers were compromised in the incident will receive a year's worth of free credit monitoring, the spokeswoman told Computerworld.
Ironically, the theft comes as Baylor is deploying new technology aimed at helping it track laptops and remotely erase sensitive information on them in the event of a loss or theft.