Talk about deal flow!

February 7, 2006

Talk about deal flow!

For whatever reason, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been faxing confidential medical records to a local investment bank for the past several weeks. The bank is not named in the article but I think it’s Northstar Global Partners.

According to the Boston Herald:

The records, called inpatient admission sheets, contain a plethora of sensitive data, including the women’s Social Security numbers, birth dates, home addresses, hospital room numbers, health insurance data, blood types, religion and occupations, the names of their doctors and hospital discharge data.

The records also include information about the newborn babies and whether the mother and baby tested positive or negative for several diseases, including chlamydia, syphilis and hepatitis B.

The bank has been shredding the faxes and has tried several times to stop them from coming, but to no avail. Once the Globe reporter started asking questions, the Brigham somehow managed to put a stop to the mess.

I wonder how many other people are getting this sort of information by mistake and not bothering to call the Brigham or the Herald.

3 thoughts on “Talk about deal flow!”

  1. These things happen quite frequently.

    A few years ago our phone number was given out to many people as the phone number of a physician at a Boston hospital (not the Brigham). It took repeated requests over the period of many months to stop the phone calls. It appeared that our phone number was on printed materials that had been circulated and it was not simple to retract the error in a timely way.

    A few years before that our fax number was used erroneously to send one confidential document intended for a very senior government official in the area of health care.

    No damage was done; as a physician I respected the confidentiality of these communications as much as I would have if I had encountered the information as part of my work.

    The episodes are a useful reminder that errors occur not only with computerized systems; mistakes happen with paper and non-automated procedures as well. And some mistakes are difficult to correct quickly.

  2. I frequently get claims information from an auto insurance company.

    It’s also not infrequent that I receive x-ray reports, consult reports, and lab results from patients that aren’t mine.

    In the latter case, sometimes the error stems from the very old fashioned, low-tech problem of papers sticking together!

    best,

    Flea

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