Patients Notified of Missing Hard Drive
The Department of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai notified 610 patients on October 21, 2013 that a physician's USB hard drive containing patient information was reported missing. .
The department expressed regret and advised the patients that it is unlikely they are at risk of identity theft as neither their social security numbers nor addresses were included. Patients with questions, or any evidence of actual identity theft were advised to contact Mount Sinai at 1-212-241-6981. As a precaution the department advised patients to obtain a credit check by visiting the www.annualcreditreport.com website or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
The drive included a log of endoscopy procedures performed between July 2011 and January 2013 that included the date of procedures, patient last name and medical record number, and brief information about the type of procedure and findings. For a small number of patients, correspondence including full name and date of birth with medical history was included. For a small number of patients the drive also contained internal procedural images, where patients could not be identified visually.
Mount Sinai discovered on August 22, 2013 that the drive was missing. Despite a thorough search, the drive could not be located. An investigation could not determine if the drive was stolen or misplaced. The drive was not encrypted or password protected, in violation of policy. Mount Sinai is taking appropriate actions to address the failure to follow policy with the physician regarding the failure to follow policy and is reporting this matter to the appropriate agencies as required by applicable law. The department is instituting additional procedures to ensure all staff take appropriate steps to ensure security and privacy of patient information.