Tony Gugliotta reports:
A laptop computer with a[n Excel] spreadsheet containing certain patient information was stolen from Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket.
The hospital sent out a letter to affected patients that said the computer was set up in a conference room within the hospital and was for used [sic] by authorized employees only.
According to the letter, the information was being used as part of a study to decrease wait time in the hospital’s emergency department.
According to the letter, there was minimal risk for an unauthorized person to access any patient’s confidential information because certain columns on the spreadsheet were “hidden” and someone that wanted the information would need to know how to “unhide” the columns.
Read more on turnto10.com.
Should I have warned you all to put down your coffee before you read the part about “hidden” data on a spreadsheet? Did no one who knows anything about software review the hospital’s letter before it was sent?
The video on turnto10.com shows the notification letter was sent out on October 16. The news coverage does not indicate what specific types of information were included in the spreadsheet, but it reportedly did not contain Social Security numbers, addresses, or medical information.
Update: On Dec. 21, HHS added this incident to their breach tool. Their entry shows that the theft occurred on October 1 and that 683 patients had data on the laptop.