PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s largest hospital group said Friday it was notifying about 20,000 patients that some of their personal information may have been on laptop computer that was stolen.
In a news release, Lifespan said someone broke into an employee’s car on Feb. 25 and stole several items, including a MacBook the employee used for work. According to Lifespan, the worker immediately notified both the company and police of the theft. Lifespan said it quickly changed the employee’s login credentials as a precaution.
Lifespan said its investigators later determined the laptop was not encrypted nor password-protected. Investigators also learned that emails stored on the computer may have contained patients’ names, medical record numbers, partial addresses, and prescribed medications. The emails did not contain patients’ social security numbers, financial information, or clinical diagnoses. Lifespan also said there were no medical records stored on the laptop, and there was no indication that anyone had accessed or used the patient information.
Lifespan said it began sending out letters to affected patients on Friday, and that it had also established a dedicated call center. Patients can call (877) 216-4074 if they believe they were affected, or have questions.
Lifespan said it would change its policies and re-train employees on security related to work computers.