Security lapse by Diamond Computing exposed Diatherix patients' information on the Internet for 22 months

Diatherix Laboratories in Alabama  posted this notice on their site about a breach involving Diamond Computing Company:

On August 7, 2014, the Compliance Officer of Diatherix Laboratories, Inc. notified 7,016 individuals across the United States that their protected health information (PHI) may have been accessed in connection with a security lapse.

Background Information

Diatherix provides clinical laboratory testing services. Diatherix contracted with a software company, Diamond Computing Company, to provide billing-related services. On July 10, 2014, Diatherix discovered a security lapse by Diamond Computing Company that allowed one of its computer servers to be made accessible through the Internet. The server contained billing-related documents, such as health insurance claim forms and billing and payment-related letters. With assistance from an outside data security firm, Diatherix concluded that the server became unsecure on September 24, 2011 and was first accessed on October 16, 2011, but no PHI was viewed at this time. Diatherix’s investigation indicated that documents containing PHI were first viewed on March 7, 2014.

As soon as the lapse was discovered, Diatherix took immediate steps to secure the PHI. As requested by Diatherix, Diamond Computing Company terminated access to the server on July 10, 2014. Diatherix also began an investigation to determine how the incident occurred and to determine which data and individuals were involved, and engaged an outside data security firm to assist in this investigation.

Diatherix determined that the types of information in the documents that were accessible through the Internet included patient name, patient account number, address, date of test, insurance information, and guarantor/insured information. Some of the documents also included social security numbers, dates of birth, diagnosis codes and the type of test ordered for the patient. The documents did not include laboratory test results, banking information or credit card information.

In addition to conducting an investigation to determine how the incident occurred and which data and individuals were involved, Diatherix has implemented security measures in an effort to minimize risk of any similar incident in the future. These measures include:

  • Confirming that Diamond Computing Company has destroyed or secured all information of Diatherix patients that was stored on the server;
  • Contacting Google and other search engines known to have accessed documents containing PHI and requesting that all PHI be removed from their files; and
  • Initiating a security review of other, similar Diatherix vendors who have access to PHI to confirm their security procedures.

Diatherix noted that they are offering affected patients one year of credit monitoring through Experian.  You can access their full notification here (pdf).

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