Missing EKG-linked laptop prompts breach notification at Valley Community Healthcare

Valley Community Healthcare in North Hollywood, Calif., has notified patients of a potential data breach after a laptop computer attached to an electrocardiogram machine went missing.

The missing laptop was discovered Feb. 24, and the hospital reported the breach to the police department the same day.

Data of patients who received an EKG test was included on the laptop, which contained names and birthdates. According to the hospital, no Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, California identification card numbers or financial account information is compromised.

The computer is password-protected and requires user authentication, though the notification does not mention whether the laptop was encrypted. The hospital does say in the notification that it is taking steps to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. "These include IT encryption and storage of medical database, and securing computers so that they cannot be removed," according to the notification.

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