A hospital laptop was stolen from the residence of a Blount Memorial employee on Aug. 25. Though the laptop was password protected, there was no encryption set up to further guard the patient data and responsible party non-medical information. Because of this breach, Blount Hospital has had to notify 27,000 potential patients who may have been put at risk. According to the Breach Notification Rule, HIPAA requires that a hospital provide full disclosure of breaches that impact 500 or more individuals.
Valuable information, such as a patient’s place of residents, social security number and date of birth can be found on the stolen laptop. In response, Blount Memorial Hospital has promised to take steps that will ensure their data safety, such as providing a free telephone number to call if they have questions about the incident and free credit reports.
To further help patients and follow standard HIPAA procedures, the hospital has also alerted the federal government about the stolen laptop. Law enforcement and the hospital are continuously working together to discover the possible current whereabouts of the stolen laptop