PO Box 409095
Chicago, IL 60640
Length: 3 minutes, 16 seconds
Interviewer: David Burda, editor, Modern Healthcare
Interviewee: John Hammergren, McKesson Corp.
[00:00:02.21] David Burda: Hello everyone. Its Dave Burda, editor of Modern Healthcare. It is Monday, Oct. 1. Visiting with us today is John Hammergren from McKesson. John, welcome to Modern Healthcare.
[00:00:13.29] John Hammergren: Thank you. Im happy to be here.
[00:00:16.09] David Burda: A few weeks ago your company made some headlines with a theft, I believe, of some computers with some patient data. And I was wondering if you can fill our readers in on what exactly happened and how you handled the situation.
[00:00:31.07] John Hammergren: Well, the laptops contained some information regarding the use of some of our speciality pharmaceuticals. It was actually a program designed to help patients who otherwise couldnt get access to drugs from a financial perspective that was being supported by manufacturers. So these manufacturers provided the ability for patients to get access to the drugs in a financially supportive way, via the manufacturers. So, inadvertently, these laptops were stolen out of one of our facilities and may have contained some information that would have led somebody to know the individuals who were getting those drugs.
[00:01:14.19] David Burda: Now how did youwhen you became aware of that situation, whats the first thing that you did?
[00:01:19.11] John Hammergren: Well, the first thing we do, obviously, is try to figure out what was on the laptops and whether in fact there was some information that might be concerning to us and then, clearly, to attempt to find those laptops and/or find a way to extract the information so that the information is not usable by anyone.
The second thing we did is notify the manufacturers and the patients that were potentially involved in this and make sure that they have an awareness about the situation and notify the regulators that are involved.
[00:01:47.26] David Burda: And whats the status of the situation right now?
[00:01:49.27] John Hammergren: Well, the investigation is ongoing. The notification, I believe, has been complete to all the constituents, and were disappointed that it happened, but well continue to make precautions and take precautions, I should say, in our facilities to make sure this kind of theft cant happen in the future.
[00:02:04.24] David Burda: And what recommendations would you have for hospital executives, group practices, health insurers, to avoid something similar? What lessons can they take from your situation?
[00:02:15.02] John Hammergren: Well, I think its similar to any kind of important record, whether its a paper-based record or an electronic record, its important to have those records secure and to make sure your facilities are secure so that theft like this might not arise. We believe this theft was related to the actual laptop itself as opposed to the content on the laptop. We would have been much more disturbed, I think, if we believed it was an actual data theft, that people were pursuing the data on its own.
So, I think that with the constant vigilance around, assets like laptops and computers and security around the data thats on those computers is very important. Encryption, and all kinds of other vehicles that can be employed to make sure that even if a laptop or a tape drive is stolen, that the material cant be recovered.
[00:03:07.25] David Burda: Very good. John, I appreciate your time this afternoon.
[00:03:09.25] John Hammergren: Thank you.