Baylor Health Care System notifies over 8,000 patients after portable ultrasound machine with PHI is stolen
Baylor Heart and Vascular Center in Texas reports that over 8,000 patients might have been affected by the theft of a portable ultrasound diagnostic machine. The device was stolen from a patient’s room in Baylor’s Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital (BHVH) in Dallas on the evening of December 2 or the early morning of December 3, 2010. A statement on Baylor Health Care System’s site linked from their home page says:
We believe the ultrasound machine may have contained limited data on a small number of patients seen at the hospital from December 26, 2006 to December 2, 2010. Patient health information on the machine is limited to patient names, dates of birth, blood pressure, height, weight, and limited health information in the form of ultrasound images of patient’s hearts. Approximately 8,000 patient procedures were performed on the ultrasound machine. However, Baylor believes only a very small fraction of the 8,000 patients’ information was actually contained on the device because the data is regularly purged and overwritten. Therefore, Baylor is not able to determine exactly which patients’ information was on the device. Out of an abundance of caution, Baylor is notifying all patients that could have information contained on the device.
In its notification to the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Service, Baylor reported that 8,241 patients were being notified.
Baylor also indicated that the stolen machine contained patient health information from patients of both BHVH and Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. No financial information or social security numbers were affected.