AKRON, Ohio (WKBN) – Akron Children’s Hospital has lost protected health information for 7,664 patient families, according to a release sent Tuesday.
The release stated that a hard drive of voice recordings, which did not contain Social Security numbers or financial information, has been lost. The recordings included some names and information considered to be protected health information.
The hard drive was in a locked, secure area of the hospital’s Akron campus and was discovered missing on June 30. It contains voice recordings of communications between dispatchers and medical staff at community hospitals, physician offices and Akron Children’s emergency departments prior to or during the transport of patients between Sept. 18, 2014, and June 3, 2015.
Typically, the medical teams refer only to the age and gender of the patient, but occasionally names and other identifying information are used.
“Our internal investigation indicated the hard drive was lost and nothing malicious was involved,” said Grace Wakulchik, chief operating officer at Akron Children’s Hospital. “We place the highest importance on protecting patient information.”
The hospital says it is following notification rules of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, including mailing letters to affected patient families.
“We truly regret this situation and value the trust our patient families place in us when we care for their children. At this time we do not believe parents need to take any further actions,” said Wakulchik. “To prevent similar incidents, we have taken steps to ensure all mobile devices are encrypted and we no longer store transport voice recordings on mobile devices.”
Families who received a letter or believe their child was transported to Akron Children’s during the 9-month period and have questions may call 866-329-5860 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.