Capital Digestive Care, a Silver Spring, MD-based gastroenterology group has revealed that one of its business associates shared files to a commercial cloud server that dd not have appropriate security controls, exposing the protected health information of up to 17,639 clients.
This sharing of sensitive patient data online was brought to the attention of Capital Digestive Care on February 23, 2018 and action was swiftly taken to safeguard the files and stop further unauthorized access.
A review into the privacy breach was initiated to determine the variety of information that had been accessed and the number of patients affected.
The review confirmed some sensitive data had been accessed, although the breach was restricted to people that had visited its website and submitted information via the Schedule a Visit and Contact pages on the website.
The sort of information exposed was restricted to names, addresses, email addresses, telephone details, and birth dates. Clients may also have had a limited amount of health information accessed. The login page to the online patient portal and the Pay a Bill pages were unaffected, so no financial information was impacted. No patient accounts were compromised and Social Security information and electronic health records remained safe at all times.
Capital Digestive Care has adapted measure to stop additional breaches of PHI. All third-party vendors must now confirm compliance with HIPAA Security Rule provisions regarding the secure storage of personal information.
All patients affected by the breach have been alerted by mail and provided with data on monitoring and protecting their personal information.
It is not known for how long patient data were exposed and how many unauthorized people accessed patient information.
Capital Digestive Care has not been contacted with reports to say that exposed information has been obtained by unauthorized people.