A breach of patients’ protected health information (PHI) has been faced by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medicine Viral Hepatitis Clinic.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham utilizes flash drives to transmit files from its Fibroscan device to a CPU. Two flash drives were found to be lost on October 25, 2017. The moveable storing appliances had a partial amount of PHI of 652 sick persons.
Information saved on the appliances included first and last names, names of referring physician, gender, medical diagnosis, birth dates, images and numbers pertaining to test results, and the dates and times of the test.
UAB Medicine has verified that no financial information, Social Security numbers, addresses, insurance details, or phone numbers were saved on the flash drives.
A huge hunt of Viral Hepatitis Clinic was carried out, however, the flash drives couldn’t be found. The inquiry into the breach is ongoing. It is unknown whether the flash drives were unintentionally disposed of, misplaced inside the facility, or if they were thieved. Therefore UAB Medicine can’t say whether the PHI on the appliances has been seen by illegal people.
The breach of PHI has encouraged UAB Medicine to reconsider its procedures and policies and measures have been applied to avoid similar events from happening in the time to come. All patients impacted by the event were alerted to the breach by post this week.
Because of the limited nature of files that were revealed, patients are not supposed to confront a high danger of fraud and identity theft. As a safety measure, patients have been instructed to check their credit reports for any indication of fake activity.
As the probability of illegal access of PHI can’t be precluded, UAB Medicine is also providing patients affected by the event 12 months of credit checking and reporting facilities free of charge.