Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center (LAC+USC) has notified patients that the protected health information of over 700 patients seen in the LAC+USC neurosurgery clinic was stolen from an employee’s car. The information, which was contained on appointment lists, included patients’ names, dates of birth, medical record numbers, telephone numbers, gender, and date/time of scheduled appointments, and may also have included the reason for the examination and/or a patient’s diagnosis.

With more and more health information being stored electronically, it is easy to forget that the privacy and security of paper records must also be protected. Tips for protecting paper records include storing them in a secure location (such as a locked file cabinet or portable document box), not leaving them unattended (such as in an automobile,) and shredding paper records when ready for disposal.