An unencrypted laptop has been stolen from one of its employees in a theft, the second such incident to be discovered in the space of three months, at Rocky Mountain Health Care Services of Colorado Springs.
The latest breach was identified on September 28. The stolen laptop computer was discovered to chold the protected health information of a small number of patients. The types of information held on the device included first and last names, addresses, dates of birth, health insurance information, Medicare numbers, and limited treatment details.
The incident has been made known to law enforcement and patients affected by the hacking incident have been alerted by mail.
Rocky Mountain Health Care Services, which also does business as Rocky Mountain PACE, BrainCare, HealthRide, and Rocky Mountain Options for Long Term Care, also found on June 18, 2017 that a mobile phone and laptop computer were taken from a former staff member. The devices held names, dates of birth, addresses, limited treatment information, and health insurance information.
Up to now, only one of those incidents has been posted on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights breach portal. That incident, reported on November 16, shows 909 patients were harmed. It is unclear if this is the first or second laptop theft.
Reacting to the breaches, Rocky Mountain Health Care Services has been assessing its policies and procedures with respect to the security of patient information and portable electronic devices, and is thinking about incorporating mobile device management technologies and data encryption for its portable devices.
As the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) breach portal displays, the loss and theft of unencrypted portable electronic devices is still a significant cause of healthcare data breaches, and one that the use of data encryption technologies can easily stop. To date in 2017, there have been 31 HIPAA breaches reported by covered Bodies and business associates that have included the loss or theft of unencrypted laptop devices and other portable electronic devices.