Pathology Lab Patients’ PHI Exposed Following Theft of Unencrypted Laptop

by | Mar 26, 2018

A Clinical Pathology Laboratories Southeast, Inc., (CPLSE) employee’s unencrypted work laptop computer has been stolen, exposing the protected health information of targeted patients and their payment guarantors.

Swift action was taken by CPLSE to stop the laptop from being used to connect to its network and the theft was made knocwn to law enforcement agencies; however, it may be the case that the protected health information saved on the laptop could have been viewed by unauthorized people.

An internal review was conducted to determine the types of data stored on the device which showed that the following PHI elements were potentially exposed: Names, addresses, driver’s license details, Social Security numbers, government ID information, medical record numbers, and medical treatment history.

Patients have now been alerted of the breach and advised of the steps they can take to safeguard themselves against improper use of their data. Free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services have been provided to affected people.

Measure have also been employed to stop similar incidents from happening in the future, which include retraining staff on data security, updating required policies and procedures, and using encryption technology on portable electronic devices used to save ePHI.

The laptop was taken on September 20, 2017 and the substitute breach notice published on the CPLSE website on March 21, 2018. It is not obvious why it took six months for the incident to be reported. HIPAA regulations state that notifications should be issued within 60 days of the discovery of a breach.

The incident has yet to be published on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Breach Portal. The number of people affected has not yet been stated.

Raise the level of HIPAA Awareness in your organization with Learner-Friendly, Comprehensive and Affordable HIPAA Training.


Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy is a highly accomplished journalist and editor with nearly two decades of experience in the field. With expertise in writing and editing content, Patrick has made significant contributions to various publications and organizations. Over the course of his career, Patrick has successfully managed teams of writers, overseeing the production of high-quality content and ensuring its adherence to professional standards. His exceptional leadership skills, combined with his deep understanding of journalistic principles, have allowed him to create cohesive and engaging narratives that resonate with readers. A notable area of specialization for Patrick lies in compliance, particularly in relation to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). He has authored numerous articles delving into the complexities of compliance and its implications for various industries. Patrick's comprehensive understanding of HIPAA regulations has positioned him as a go-to expert, sought after for his insights and expertise in this field. Patrick's bachelors degree is from the University of Limerick and his master's degree in journalism is from Dublin City University. You can contact Patrick through his LinkedIn profile:

Raise the level of HIPAA Awareness in your organization with Learner-Friendly, Comprehensive and Affordable HIPAA Training.

Comprehensive HIPAA Training

Used in 1000+ Healthcare Organizations and 100+ Universities

    Full Course - Immediate Access

    Privacy Policy