The University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics informed its patients about the recent theft of billing records and to provide them with resources to protect their confidentiality. Additionally, the health-care system, which was already in the process of an independent assessment of its information systems, has taken additional steps to safeguard its records as a result of the theft.
“Although it is unlikely that information on the tapes will be compromised, we are nevertheless taking aggressive steps to protect our patients’ confidentiality,” said Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Health Sciences.
A metal box containing the backup tapes, which contained billing records for approximately 2.2 million patients and guarantors, was stolen on Monday, June 2, from a car belonging to a driver who worked for an independent storage company contracted by the health-care system. The driver violated the protocols his company had established to ensure secure data transportation.
The billing records included patient names, related demographic information and diagnostic codes. None of the records contained credit card information. Records for a subset of 1.3 million patients also contained Social Security numbers.