- Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston is now notifying patients that their medical data has been breached after a laptop and cell phone were stolen from a BWH physician in an armed robbery that occurred Sept. 24.
- A CBS Local report indicates the physician was held up at gunpoint, and that assailants forced the physician to disclose the pass codes and encryption keys to the laptop and cell phone, though the robbery did not take place on the hospital campus. The theft was reported to the Boston Police Department.
- The devices contained information of patients who received treatment at BWH's neurology and neurosurgery programs between October 2011 and September 2014, as well as some individuals participating in research studies. Compromised information may include patient names, medical record number, age, medications and treatment and diagnosis information.
It appears that the physician who was robbed at gunpoint did everything possible to protect personal health information, and follow HIPAA guidelines, in advance. But while gunpoint robberies of device-wielding docs aren't a common occurrence, the incident underscores the importance of protecting portable devices where health information resides. Encryption, remote data "wipe" features and passcodes are all necessary buffers physicians should utilize if they plan to take professional devices out of the professional healthcare setting.