An unsecured hospital computer containing a limited amount of patient information was stolen from the Eisenhower Medical Center (EMC) in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

The hospital began notifying more than 514,000 patients of the stolen computer, in accordance with the HITECH Act breach notification rule that requires them to notify patients of a breach.

Information on the unencrypted computer includes “an electronic index with limited patient information used by EMC. The information in the index file included, patient names, ages, dates of birth, the last four digits of the Social Security numbers and the hospital’s Medical Record Numbers (MRNs),” according to an Eisenhower Medical Center press release.

The hospital states that the computer did not contain patient medical records or financial information.

The thief also stole a television, and the hospital does not believe the computer was taken for its data.

Still, the theft acted as a wake-up call to hospital staff on the importance of securing their data.

Following the incident, the EMC reviewed its cybersecurity standards “and patient index data was moved from individual computers to our secure data center,” states the release.

It adds, “To the extent that the data may be needed outside of the secure data center, it will be encrypted and returned to the data center when it is no longer needed. We have also taken steps to further secure our facilities during off-hours.”

PHOTO CAPTION: IBM 5120 Computer System, 1980. (Dezignr)

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Joshua Philipp is the founder and editor of TechZwn.com. He's also an award-winning journalist at Epoch Times.

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