University Health Network Notifies Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC)
of stolen laptop with patient information

TORONTO, May 28 /CNW/ - University Health Network (UHN) is issuing this advisory to notify patients who had surgical procedures from 2004-2010 about a stolen laptop taken from a staff person's car on the weekend of May 8-9, 2010. The laptop contained select personal health information on about 20,000 surgical patients from all sites at University Health Network.

University Health Network, which consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals, notified Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) on Monday, May 17, 2010 and is cooperating fully with the IPC.

Investigations by UHN determined that the patient information was from 2004 - 2010 and included patients' names, dates and types of surgeries and, in a limited number of cases, patients' phone numbers. UHN also found that encryption on the laptop failed, so that the information could potentially be accessed. However, it is likely that the laptop was stolen for its resale value, and not for the data.

In consultation with its Privacy Office and IT Department, UHN determined that the risk of fraud or identity theft is very low because no OHIP numbers or full contact information were saved on the computer.

The laptop has not been found by the police or posted on common online sales sites.

There are no actions that need to be taken by patients as a result of this theft. Patients whose phone numbers were on the laptop will be sent a letter by UHN staff. Patient inquiries may be directed to 416 - 340 - 4674, which will be staffed from Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

UHN is continuing to conduct its own internal investigation, reviewing its internal policies and procedures to determine which security safeguards can be further strengthened, and intensifying the education of all staff in safeguarding and protecting all their electronic devices from privacy breaches.

About University Health Network

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, and genomic medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

SOURCE University Health Network

For further information: For further information: For media requests, please contact the main media line: UHN Public Affairs, Tel: (416) 340-4636

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