A local surgeon on vacation in Hawaii had his laptop stolen and it contained information about more than 4,000 patients.
Oregon Health & Science University is in the midst of contacting 4,022 patients.
The computer was stolen from a vacation rental home in late February.
The hospital said all of the patient information was located within the email program. It was contained within daily surgery schedules that are emailed to surgeons scheduled to operate at OHSU. Those schedules were for surgeries that took place in late 2012 through Feb. 20, 2013.
The type of information is limited to patient names, medical record numbers, types of surgeries, dates and locations of the operations, the patient's gender, age and the name of the surgeon and anesthesiologist.
In addition, OHSU security investigators determined that Social Security numbers for nine patients were included in the approximately 5,000 emails.
Investigators believe the burglars were looking for cash and personal items, not the data on the computer. However, those people have been offered free identity theft monitoring.
OHSU said all its laptops are password protected, but at the time of the incident encryption was required only for laptops used for patient care. This computer was purchased and used for research purposes and was not encrypted.
In an effort to prevent similar issues in the future, OHSU recently enacted even more stringent encryption requirements.
OHSU representatives said they were unable to immediately contact patients following the theft because there was a significant amount of effort required to determine what was on the stolen computer.
OHSU security experts needed to investigate which emails were on the laptop. Then they needed to examine those 5,000 emails individually to identify precisely what data was on the stolen computer and how many people were affected.
OHSU sent letters to the affected patients late last week. Patients who were impacted should receive letters in the mail within a week.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:43:54 GMT
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