Laptop with patient information stolen from UCSF employee

By Jennifer O'Brien

A laptop containing files with patient information was stolen from a UCSF School of Medicine employee on or about November 30, 2009. UCSF is in the process of alerting approximately 4,310 patients that their protected health information is vulnerable to access as a result of the incident.

The UCSF Police Department was notified and began an investigation on December 1.  The laptop was recovered in Southern California on January 8, 2010.

A review conducted by UCSF Enterprise Information Security determined that the files contained limited data for some UCSF patients relating to their treatment at UCSF Medical Center in 2008 and 2009. It also was determined that the employee had uploaded some files from a prior employer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and these files contained some BIDMC patient data.

The information potentially exposed included name, medical record number, age and clinical information. The laptop did not contain any Social Security numbers or other financial data.

Although there is no indication that unauthorized access to the files or the laptop actually took place, UCSF and BIDMC began sending out notifications to patients in January 2010.

UCSF is committed to maintaining the privacy of personal information and takes many precautions for the security of that information.  In response to incidents such as this, UCSF is continually modifying its systems and practice to enhance the security of sensitive information.

UCSF has established a toll-free number (1-877-809-1270 ext. 74005) for those with questions.