Healthcare News & Insights

Yet another huge patient data breach…

When will workers learn: Unencrypted patient data on a laptop is a disaster waiting to happen. 

That’s the lesson Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia has been learning the hard way. The hospital discovered a laptop containing personal and health information (including Social Security numbers) of 21,000 patients was missing.

The data had been accumulated by researchers investigating ways to reduce the risk of blood clots. The data had been culled from databases and loaded onto a personal laptop by an employee — in direct violation of hospital policy. It’s also unclear why the information was in a state that allowed it to be copied.

The laptop was stolen from an office in the hospital in early June.

Jefferson officials notified affected patients last week, apologized and offered identity theft monitoring and protection programs. The breach, tied as the 17th largest, has not resulted in any improper use of the data. So far.

Jefferson isn’t the only hospital with egg on its face this week. Cooper University Hospital, just across the river from Jefferson in Camden, New Jersey, announced it has misplaced a flash drive containing Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses of it’s medical residents and fellows.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.