Patient Data Accidentally Posted on the Internet

by jeeg 28. September 2010 02:36

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center said Monday that bits and pieces of information, including 10 Social Security numbers, from about 6,800 patients had been inadvertently disclosed on the Internet.

The institutions said in a written statement that the information was mistakenly placed on a server from which it became public.

Myrna Manners, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said it appeared that someone internally had made a mistake, and that there was no criminal wrongdoing.

She said that “snippets” of data, like names, ages, surgical status, temperature and pulse had become accessible to Internet search engines. But Ms. Manners said it did not appear that diagnoses had been exposed.

The mistake was found in early July, after a relative of a patient found information from that patient on the Internet and told the hospital about it. The data was taken down soon after, but the problem was not announced until Monday because of the investigation. The 6,800 patients were all patients in the last couple of years in the intensive care unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center at 168th Street in Washington Heights.

“We deeply regret that this has occurred and we understand the concern that patients and their families may feel upon learning that their information may have been exposed,” the hospital and university said in the statement. “We have no evidence that this information has been improperly used. We are in the process of informing all affected patients and have set up a hot line for patients to call if they have questions.”


By Anemoma Hartocollis,NY Times, September 27, 2010


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