Hospitals face investigation of patient data theft

  • Article by: TONY KENNEDY and MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: October 15, 2011 - 10:18 PM

Feds are investigating Fairview and North Memorial after the loss of laptop.

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akmscottOct. 15, 1111:22 PM

And this is why I don't want my records stored electronically!How long before insureance companies hire hackers to get this information?

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northerlyOct. 16, 1112:14 AM

The electronic medical record: free to share and it lasts forever, no matter how many errors it may contain.

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gwbuddyOct. 16, 1112:52 AM

This Loss / Theft of Patient Information COULD, and MUST, be prevented. It's FEDERAL law. WHY does any Patient Information -- encrypted or not -- get put onto laptop computers? Which are then often Lost or Stolen. Yikes!!! Hospitals, Insurers, Data Analysis Companies, etc. could access this Patient Information from SECURE servers. Where there is NO possibility of Loss or Theft. Several other industries -- Banking, Financial, Retail, Auto Repair, etc. -- collect information from people, and SECURELY store that information. It sounds like the Health Care industry needs to improve it's SECURE handling of Patient Information. I know that I won't be receiving any Health Care at places with a poor history of SECURING Patient Information. Like the ones mentioned in this article. The folks responsible for losing any Patient Information deserve to be FIRED.

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yeckelOct. 16, 1112:52 AM

Rhetorical question: how stupid must you be to leave a laptop computer with valuable confidential information subject to privacy laws lying in plain site in your car while it is parked in a bar district late at night? Maybe this employee needs to spend less time drinking in bars.

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teresainmnOct. 16, 11 1:05 AM

I always x out the paragraph about electronic records and write NO over it, whenever I sign a consent for treatment...and this is the exact reason why. I can't help but wonder though...just how much they pay attention to that. This theft is worrisome for us because we have a family member who was a patient at Fairview until recently. He is currently in a dispute over billing, because Fairview billed him and his insurance co for services not received, and he is contesting the charges. So it's a real concern that his data may have been on this laptop. I wonder if they will be required to send out letters, informing patients that their info has been compromised. This is scary stuff.

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gking2mnOct. 16, 11 6:48 AM

We got a letter from north memorial on our daughter. We have requested a excat printout of what was on the laptop of her information before we proceed any further. They say no SS# but people these days can datamine to get your SS#

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VAOct. 16, 11 6:57 AM

More and more Corporations, Isurance Companies and Businesses are sending home private information with their workers on laptops. The laptops are replacing desktop computers and are shifting the responsibility of privacy to the workers. If one has lost a laptop or had one stolen their job is in jeopardy and the Company has the ability to "shift the blame" of a breach in privacy to the worker. There should be strict laws regarding retention of information within the Company and it should not be "traveling down the road in ones car".

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fitzesOct. 16, 11 7:03 AM

Anyone else think this is getting slightly overblown? Yes, identity theft is a serious issue, and there are legitimate issues to be addressed going forward. But a smash and grab at Seven Corners? That's the work of a random junkie, not an organized crime syndicate. Whoever boosted it pawned it the next morning. Oh, and to answer yeckel's rhetorical question: pretty amazingly stupid. On occasion, blaming the victim is actually quite logical.

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taxnomore64Oct. 16, 11 7:26 AM

And now HHS is trying to pass a rule requiring all medical records be shared with them as part of Obamacare, adding just another layer of insecurity. If you don't want your medical records shared with the Feds, I suggest you submit a public comment at regulations.gov (Docket ID HHS-OS-2011-0020). The feds had millions of VA records stolen ... yet there is no penalty when they lose your most private information.

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d44332211Oct. 16, 11 7:45 AM

What kind of idiot leaves a laptop in their car in plain view? And the company was from Chicago? That guy should know better - if you leave a laptop in plain view in Chicago for several hours, your car will get broken into, no matter what neighborhood. Same thing goes in Minneapolis and probably any other bigger city. That guy should be held accountable by his company for such a bone-headed mistake.

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