External hard drive stolen from Denton Heart Group

Denton (Texas) Heart Group has informed patients that an external computer hard drive, which may have contained seven years of patient data, was stolen from its premises.

On January 11, Denton Heart Group discovered the drive — which was secured in a locked closet within the clinic — had been stolen on or around Dec. 29, 2016. Denton Heart Group used the drive to back up or store patient information from its EHR.

The information included on the hard drive may have included patients' names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, Social Security numbers, medical record numbers, clinic account numbers, insurance providers' names, insurance group of policy numbers, physicians' names and other clinical information for care received between 2009 and 2016.

Denton Heart Group immediately reported the theft to law enforcement officials, and the investigation is ongoing. Denton Heart Group has mailed letters to potentially affected patients and is offering eligible patients free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services.

"To date, the clinic has no indication that any of the information has been further disclosed or used by any other unauthorized individuals or entities," Denton Heart Group said in a statement. "Necessary corrective actions have been taken to safeguard against similar incidents in the future, and we are taking steps to reevaluate the security of computer devices within our clinics to further protect our patients' information."

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