Local News

Patient info stolen from Duke Health office

Posted August 29, 2014 2:40 p.m. EDT

— Duke University Health System officials said Friday that a thumb drive containing patient information was stolen from an administrative office last month.

The unencrypted device contained spreadsheets that included patients’ names, medical record numbers, physicians’ names and, in some instances, the names of certain Duke University Hospital locations visited, officials said. No Social Security numbers, clinical information, financial information or medical records were on the device, they said.

The patients whose information was compromised were treated in the Duke Children’s Health Center and Lenox Baker Children’s Hospital from last December until June.

The thumb drive was stolen on July 1, but police have been unable to recover it, officials said. It was unclear why Duke waited until Friday to notify patients.

"We have no reason to believe that the information on the thumb drive has been used in any way," officials said in a statement on the Duke Health website.

The health system set up a dedicated call center to answer questions from affected patients. People can call 866-819-2163 toll-free between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. weekdays.

"We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our patients," officials said in the statement. "To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, we are enhancing our encryption processes and re-enforcing staff education on the use of encryption and the importance of handling patient information securely."