Houston patient information at risk -->
Notifying letters about the theft were mailed to the patients Wednesday, 26 days after the un-encrypted laptop was discovered missing from a locked closet in the orthopedic clinic. The laptop was attached to an electromyography machine used by a member of the health science center's medical practice group, known as UT Physicians.
"UT Physicians does not have any reason to believe that the information has been accessed or used by any unauthorized individual," says the letter, signed by Andrew Casas, UT Physicians' chief operating officer. "We believe that the laptop may have been taken for the value of the hardware, not to gain access to its data content."
No financial info
The laptop has not been recovered. An investigation, in conjunction with
Casas wrote that the laptop contains patient names, birth dates, medical record numbers and hand and arm image data. It does not include addresses, social security numbers or insurance or other financial information.
Nevertheless, Casas urged the 596 affected patients to review their health insurance activity as a precaution and report any suspicious activity.
The security breach is just the latest in the
'Not typical laptop'
Casas' letter says UT Physicians are conducting a physical search of all clinics and offices to ensure there are no other un-encrypted laptops or storage devices attached to medical equipment.
State and federal law requires letters of notification be mailed when compromised health information involves 500 or more patients.
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