Hospital loses laptop with patient information

Posted: Monday, August 13, 2007

ANCHORAGE - For the past two months, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage has been unable to locate a laptop containing confidential information for up to 250 cancer patients.

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The records include those of patients seen between August 2005 and May 2007, and the computer was last seen at a conference off hospital grounds in May, when it was used for presentations to a small group of cancer physicians.

The missing laptop was not reported until July, said Providence spokeswoman Becky Hultberg.

There was no evidence of theft, Hultberg said.

On Friday, the hospital began calling patients whose medical records may have been stored on the laptop.

"We are very sorry for the concern that this will cause these patients," Hultberg said.

Providence believes there wasn't any financial information on the laptop, she said, but the hospital is offering to pay for credit monitoring of the patients' financial accounts for a year.

Hultberg said the records may have included patients' names, birth dates, medical record numbers, referrals and diagnoses. In rare cases, she said, records on the laptop could have included a Social Security number or address.

The original medical records are still accessible, Hultberg said.

Providence is talking to employees who might have been involved in the laptop's loss, to see if hospital policies were followed.

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