Unencrypted E-Mail Leads to BreachGeisinger Physician Sent Information to Home Computer
Last month, a gastroenterologist who formerly worked at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., e-mailed to his home computer patient names, medical record numbers, procedure indications and brief impressions regarding the care provided. The information did not include Social Security numbers or other personal information, such as address and phone number, Geisinger reported.
"Immediately upon speaking with the physician, he contacted and authorized his home e-mail provider to delete the protected health information from its network and servers," said John Gildersleeve, Geisinger's privacy officer. "He also deleted this information from his home computer.
Patients were notified of the breach in compliance with the HITECH Act's breach notification rule. "We have reviewed our internal practices and taken appropriate action to avoid reoccurence," Gildersleeve said. "We believe there is little risk that the protected health information was seen by anyone other than the physician himself."