Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center has announced it is investigating an incident involving a lost laptop that may contain patient data. The laptop belonged to a provider who used it to access work email, which contained patients’ names, addresses, phone numbers, medical records, account numbers, dates of service, and clinical information, and potentially social security numbers. While the laptop was password-protected, and a remote wipe was initiated, the Center is notifying affected individuals and offering complimentary credit monitoring and identity protection services to those whose social security numbers may have been involved.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Responds to Lost Laptop Incident
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is alerting affected individuals about an incident involving a lost laptop that occurred on October 27, 2023. A provider lost their personal laptop during travel, which was utilized for accessing Fred Hutch emails via the Microsoft Outlook application.
Even though the laptop was password-protected and a remote wipe was initiated, an investigation was launched right after the loss was discovered. A forensic team was hired to inspect the contents of the provider’s email account. At this time, there is no indication that the laptop’s data was accessed.
The investigation revealed that the provider’s email account contained some patient information. Data included names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of births, and medical record numbers, among other details. For a limited number of individuals, Social Security numbers might have been included as well.
As part of their proactive response, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center will be sending out notification letters to affected individuals starting next week. They are also offering free credit monitoring and identity protection services to those whose Social Security numbers might have been exposed. Patients are advised to carefully review their health insurance statements and report any discrepancies to their insurer.
With a high value placed on patient trust and data security, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is strengthening its security measures. They are providing additional training to staff on mobile device safeguards and are reviewing their existing policies to prevent similar breaches in the future.
For any queries, patients can reach out to Fred Hutch’s dedicated call center at 1.888.723.1054, Monday to Friday, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. PST. More information is available on the Fred Hutch website.
About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Based in Seattle, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center merges customized care with advanced research to offer cutting-edge cancer treatment options. It is committed to accelerating discoveries to prevent, treat, and cure cancer and infectious diseases globally. As a nonprofit organization, Fred Hutch is the sole National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Washington. It operates eight clinical care sites, providing medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy, and related services. It is also a significant part of UW Medicine’s cancer program.