Establishing Digital Trust: Don't Sacrifice Security for Convenience
UT Physicians, the medical group practice of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, recently announced that a password-protected but unencrypted laptop containing patient information was discovered missing from a locked closet in a UT Physicians orthopedic clinic on August 2, 2013 (h/t Becker's Hospital Review).
The laptop, which was last used on July 19, 2013, has not been recovered. It contained 596 patients' names, birthdates and medical record numbers. It did not contain addresses, Social Security numbers, or financial information.
UTHealth has had a policy of encrypting all laptops for the last two years, and at this point, all known laptops (more than 5,000) have been encrypted.
"While UT Physicians and UTHealth officials continue to work with law enforcement in their investigation, they are conducting a physical search of all clinics and offices to ensure that there are no other unencrypted laptops or storage devices attached to medical equipment," the organization said in a statement.
Patients with questions are advised to contact the UTHealth Privacy Office at (713) 500-3391.