In the digital age, protecting sensitive, confidential information can be a nonstop battle against invisible assailants. From credit card transactions to online shopping and banking, vigilance is essential. A security breach involving several Emory University medical centers jeopardized thousands of patients’ information and serves as an unfortunate reminder that when our health is vulnerable, our confidential information may be as well.
During the last week of October, Emory started a large scale alert to notify over 7,300 patients at its spinal and orthopedic treatment centers that their sensitive patient records were potentially compromised during a security problem back in 2008. According to reporting by Channel 11, representatives of the university claimed the thousands of sensitive records were physically copied by a former employee. The documents contained patients’ personal information, such as social security numbers, addresses, birthdays, and other information that is commonly used to facilitate identity crime. Thirty two documents from that leak have been connected to an identity crime syndicate. The ring has since been dismantled, but not before the criminals could file nine fake tax returns. Emory officials said the amount of people affected by the security breach could continue to rise.
In reaction to the serious problem, the university is extending complete fraud protection coverage to those patients affected for at least one year, and will potentially extend that coverage period longer on a patient by patient basis, depending on circumstances. The university also noted that they’re in the process of making safety updates to their data centers on how confidential patient information is recorded and stored. But patients shouldn’t bank on security when transmitting any private data anywhere.
Patients should always read medical privacy policies and inquire about how exactly secure information is filed. Individuals should also regularly check receipts, bank accounts, and other records to watch for signs of identity fraud. If you believe you’ve been the victim of medical identity theft in Georgia, contact the Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys with Wayne Grant at 1(866) 249-5513.