Thursday, April 07, 2005

Patient privacy goes blowing in the wind

MSNBC and the Associated Press reports that about 3,000 highly detailed patient hospital statements and records from the Cleveland Clinic blew across busy downtown streets and sidewalks Tuesday after a box fell off a delivery truck.

The patient statements included patient names, patient numbers, home addresses, insurers and policy numbers, treating physicians, admission and discharge dates and detailed billing information.

According to the news report the Cleveland Clinic was in the process of contacting all affected patients on Wednesday. The records were from two members of the Cleveland Clinic Hospital System — Lakewood and Marymount hospitals.

This is just one more example of recent reports involving the accidental release of medical and health information. This release is more traditional in the sense that it involved the release of paper data rather than a release or failure of securing electronic health data.

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