On Thursday, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center began notifying patients that an unencrypted laptop computer containing patient data was stolen in April, the Houston Business Journal reports.
Dan Fontaine -- M.D. Anderson senior vice president for business affairs -- said that the laptop was stolen from a physician's home on April 30.
He said it contained data on nearly 30,000 patients (Pulsinelli, Houston Business Journal, 6/28).
According to an M.D. Anderson release, data on the computer included:
- Medical record numbers;
- Patient names;
- Social Security numbers; and
- Treatment and research information (LaFave Grace, Modern Healthcare, 6/28).
Fontaine said that the data were not consistent among all patients (Houston Business Journal, 6/28).
He said, "We have no reason to believe that the computer was stolen for the information it contained" (Berger, Houston Chronicle, 6/28).
Response From Center
A spokesperson for the center said notification letters began going out Thursday to potentially affected patients.
In addition, M.D. Anderson said that a criminal investigation is ongoing and that it is working with law enforcement officials to recover the laptop (Modern Healthcare, 6/28).
Fontaine said M.D. Anderson is offering no-cost credit monitoring services to patients whose Social Security numbers were on the laptop.
Meanwhile, M.D. Anderson said it has boosted efforts to encrypt its devices (Houston Business Journal, 6/28).