UnityPoint Health notifies 1,800 patients after contractor's employee inappropriately accessed electronic medical records

Business Record reports:

Law enforcement personnel are investigating a data breach of West Des Moines-based UnityPoint Health‘s electronic medical records (EMR) system.

Personal information of approximately 1,800 hospital patients from across UnityPoint Health’s operating regions may be at risk from the security breach in the system, which was discovered Aug. 8 during the course of regular audit, the health system said in a press release.

UnityPoint opened a review and discovered that an individual employed by a third-party company and not authorized to access the system, had gained access to the EMR system by using a password of individuals who were authorized to access the system for medical purposes.

The unauthorized access occurred from February through August 2013. Information that may have been accessed for the impacted patients include names, home addresses, dates of birth, medical and health insurance account numbers and health information related to patient treatment.

In addition, for less than 10 percent of impacted patients, Social Security numbers and/or driver’s license numbers may have been viewed. For four impacted patients, the unauthorized user also accessed information about the patients’ financially responsible party.

UnityPoint has sent letters to all affected patients, and is offering a credit monitoring product to adults and families of minors affected. Individuals seeking more information or to ask questions directly, may call a special toll-free line which has been set up for this event at (877) 223-3817.

Callers will need to use reference number 6688100113. The call center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. 6 p.m.

UnityPoint Health, formerly known as Iowa Health System has a network of hospitals and locations, including:

It’s nice to hear that the breach was discovered by routine auditing. It would be helpful to know what the individual’s motivation was  – were these data being accessed for some fraud scheme involving medical ID theft or tax refund fraud?

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