Stolen Oregon Health & Science University hard drive contained babies’ protected health information

Data breach incident December 2015 involving stolen OHSU hard drive

02/10/16  Portland, Ore.

On December 6, 2015, an OHSU research student’s car was broken into and a hard drive was stolen. The hard drive may have contained health information about Neonatal Intensive Care Unit patients admitted to the unit in 2013 who were enrolled in a research study about the potential effect of aminoglycoside antibiotics on hearing.

The information included the patient’s full name, date of birth, medical record number, diagnosis, doctors name, and some clinical information related to the research. The information did not include address, phone number, any insurance information, social security number, or other identifiers that we believe would result in financial harm to patients or their families. Patient contact information, address or other identifiers were not included.

OHSU takes the privacy of patient information very seriously and has extensive policies and procedures in place to protect patient information, including annual training for our employees to ensure they are aware of their responsibility to protect patient information.

If you think your child may have been part of the study, more information is available at the following toll-free number: 844-243-8390.


Note: OHSU has had repeated incidents involving the theft of unencrypted patient information (cf, this post for a recap of some previous incidents). HHS’s public breach tool lists four incidents since HITECH went into effect (although not all involved stolen devices). Not one of those four incidents shows any post-investigation summary.

Will this be the time OCR cracks down on OHSU? This incident is not up on HHS’s public breach tool (yet), so we don’t know how many were affected in this latest incident.

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