IU addresses information breach at School of Optometry
The Indiana University School of Optometry has notified 757 patients that a computer server on which certain health information was stored was visible on the Internet for almost a month, between August and September 2011.
The server, containing information relating to patients seen by a former faculty member of the school, Kevin E. Houston, O.D., had been secured until a configuration error exposed the information to the Internet beginning Aug. 12. Upon learning that the information was exposed on Sept. 9, the school immediately shut the server down; cached copies indexed by a major computer search engine were removed within 24 hours. Letters were sent to affected patients on Sept. 30.
The breach affected patients of the school’s low-vision clinics in Carmel, Ind., and Indianapolis seen from January 2007 through June 2011. It also included certain hospital inpatients seen by Dr. Houston from August 2007 through August 2008. The information did not include addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers or other financial information that could be used for purposes of identity theft.
As a result of the breach, the school has reported the incident as required by law and launched an investigation to determine the cause of the breach and to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. The school has provided detailed information to those affected by the incident at http://www.opt.indiana.edu/BreachFAQ.aspx.
The IU School of Optometry and Dr. Houston deeply regret this incident and are taking steps and security measures to reduce the likelihood of future incidents.
Source: Indiana University
From the FAQ on the breach:
The files contained protected health information in the form of doctor’s letters and reports to treating physicians, inpatient consultation notes for patients seen at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, and vocational rehabilitation authorizations. The information included varied, but typically included patient names, birthdates, medical history, diagnoses and treatment plans. No addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers or financial information were involved.