Colorado-based Memorial Health, in a statement released last week, reported that “laboratory reports containing a certain amount of health information for 6,400 patients are missing.”
This news was shared in a standard-issue press release, assuring patients that “no evidence the missing records have been disclosed to or used by unauthorized individuals” and that “results from the lab work were not part of the missing reports.” It’s unlikely the data was stolen for nefarious purposes; and, once the investigation is complete, it’s very possible that the results will be user-error and the data had simply been accidentally deleted.
The lesson that Memorial is learning — and that would be important for all health-care providers to learn — is the importance of safeguards around patient data. “Patients entrust us with their private information, and we take the responsibility to protect patient information very seriously. We will use this as an opportunity to look for additional ways to better secure patient records. We deeply regret this error,” said Mike Scialdone, Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Hospital.
In a time when patient data is more mobile and stored electronically, it’s vital that providers stay vigilant about protecting it.