A laptop stolen from an assistant professor’s car may have exposed health information of about 5,000 minor patients, most of them from Louisiana and Mississippi, the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine said Tuesday.
The university sent notification letters Monday to thousands of patients, but didn’t have addresses for about 6 percent of the patients seen by Dr. Christopher Roth between July 2009 and July 16, 2015, said Dr. J. Christian Winters, vice chancellor of clinical affairs.
So the school is asking patients who saw Roth between those dates to get in touch with the school if they don’t get a letter notifying them of the theft.
Roth reported the theft July 17, saying the laptop had been stolen from his car sometime between the evening of July 16 and early July 17, according to a university news release.
The laptop did not carry any Social Security, credit card, bank account, insurance or other billing information, Winters said, and officials don’t know of any access or misuse of the data, which included names, birthdates, diagnoses and treatments, outcomes, test results and images, and medical record numbers.
“There was a small number of patients where addresses may have been on the laptop,” he said. “The majority did not have addresses, did not have patients’ names.”
But Roth’s patients are urged to visit www.identitytheft.gov to learn how to deal with identity theft, and are being offered a one-year subscription to a credit monitoring service.
Roth will be disciplined for violating medical school policy against leaving its mobile devices unattended, the news release said.
Because the laptop was not available and its information was not routinely uploaded, hospital and medical practice records were used to identify patients whom Roth had seen since July 2009, Winters said. That work and forensic analysis of the laptop hard drive’s contents through maintenance computer data took nearly eight weeks, he said.