Sharp HealthCare discovered a suspected theft of a computer and memory device containing the protected health information (PHI) of 757 outpatients, according to a statement by Sharp.
The devices were discovered missing from a locked cabinet in an access-controlled area at Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion on Health Center Drive the morning of Feb. 16.
Sharp notified the San Diego Police Department, and both organizations are actively searching for the missing devices. So far, investigations have led Sharp to believe both devices were stolen, according to Sharp.
The devices held patient wellness information for outpatients in blood and/or cardiac health studies. Each study may have recorded information on names, dates of birth, ages, medications and family histories of those patients.
Affected patients have been notified of the situation, as have the California Department of Public health and the Office for Civil Rights, Sharp said.
“It was not any social security or financial information that was taken, which is what identity thieves would need in order to access that kind of information,” said Sharp Representative John Cihomsky.
Cihomsky said Sharp is unable to state how the theft occurred or what new security measures are being taken in an effort to not tip their hand in the ongoing investigation, but they hope to have the suspect or missing devices found as soon as possible.
Sharp said it plans to review current safeguards and implement new ones to keep the incident from happening again, and patients with questions related to the incident can call 1-800-263-0217.
Sharp put out a statement that read in part:
“Sharp apologizes for any inconvenience this situation may cause our patients, and we are conducting a review of our security practices and moving forward with additional safeguards to prevent this incident from occurring again.”