Healthcare Business News

Okla. health department laptop stolen

By Rebecca Vesely
Posted: April 13, 2011 - 12:01 am ET

Nearly 133,000 people may have had personal information compromised after a laptop belonging to the Oklahoma State Health Department was stolen from an employee's car on April 6.

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On the computer was a database related to the Oklahoma Birth Defects Registry, which conducts statewide surveillance of birth defects. The laptop was used to record data from hospital medical records. In addition, 50 paper files containing abstracted medical information also went missing from the vehicle. The health department has sent letters to those affected and offered to make identity protection services available.

Stolen data may include names, birthdates, mailing addresses, Social Security numbers, medical records information, laboratory results or other data, according to the state agency.

"We are mindful that Oklahoma's citizens trust the (health department) to do all it can to protect the personal data we acquire as part of our disease prevention services," state Health Commissioner Terry Cline said in a news release. "We offer our apologies to those who may be affected."

An internal investigation and a police investigation have begun, according to the letter sent to affected individuals (PDF).

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