Online security breach endangers hospital records
Officials from Lawrence Memorial Hospital came forward this week to alert patients of a recent online security breach that may have compromised sensitive personal information.
According to the Insurance Journal, IT administrators at the Kansas healthcare facility suggested that the breach likely occurred in late September while a bill paying service the hospital was partnering with was updating its systems. A network portal was left open, allowing Google to unwittingly cache the page for public viewing and potentially jeopardize financial and personally-identifiable data of as many as 8,000 patients.
"Literally, it was like leaving the door to the house open," hospital compliance management director Susan Thomas told the news outlet.
The issue was not discovered until October 28, according to the Insurance Journal, when a patient stumbled upon her husband's financial data during a routine Google search. Although hospital administrators are not certain of the exact scope of the problem, they have advised patients to closely examine recent financial statements to verify they have not fallen victim to identity theft.
Federal investigators have now been called upon to assess the damages caused by the breach and identify the mechanisms that facilitated its occurrence. According to Becker's Hospital Review, the healthcare facility may have to answer for this negligence in the form of a $25,000 fine.