A computer containing medical and personal information for approximately 2,500 patients was stolen from a Stanford faculty member's locked office sometime between July 15 and 16, according to Stanford University Medical Center.
The computer, which may also have held some patient social security numbers, was outfitted with software that would detect when and where the computer connected to the Internet. No detection has occurred yet.
No one's complete medical records or health history were stored in the computer.
Stanford Medical Center is sending letters to those whose information may have been on the computer; individuals who do not receive a letter are not affected.
"We take this incident extremely seriously," Lisa Lapin, Assistant Vice President of University Communications, stated in a news release. "The School of Medicine and Stanford Hospital & Clinics are working with law enforcement to recover the stolen computer and to identify the responsible party. We have also further tightened security and are reviewing enhanced security measures."
Stanford has established a help line to answer any questions. Patients can call toll-free: (855) 731-6016 Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST. In addition, individuals are being offered the option of free identity protection services.