SickKids notifies study participants of stolen laptop

March 1, 2007

CNW Group

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is notifying patients that have participated in 10 different research studies about a stolen laptop that contained their personal health information. The laptop was stolen on January 4, 2007 from the car of a physician who was doing data analysis.

SickKids reported the incident to Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) and is working in full cooperation with the IPC in an independent review of this incident.

The laptop was password protected and it is not likely that the data could be easily understood by someone who lacks clinical training. Patient care is not affected by this incident since the stolen laptop contained research data and not patient charts.

The studies involved patients in the rheumatology, endocrinology, infectious diseases and cardiac program. Many of the patients in the cardiac studies were treated in the cardiac program at SickKids as children.

Notification letters were sent to study participants who are active patients. In certain circumstances, patients were notified in person at clinic appointments.

The hospital is committed to the protection of patient privacy and is pleased to be working with the IPC on a review of applicable policies and practices to ensure appropriate privacy and security safeguards are in place and that they are clearly and consistently communicated to hospital staff.

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