Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Massachusetts General Hospital notifies patients of a privacy incident at a third-party vendor

BOSTON – Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) announced today that it is notifying individuals related to a privacy incident involving information stored by a third-party vendor. The incident did not involve information that was stored or maintained on MGH’s systems.

Patterson Dental Supply Inc. (PDSI) is a trusted third-party vendor that provides software that helps manage dental practice information for various providers, including MGH. On February 8, 2016, MGH learned that an unauthorized individual gained access to electronic files used on PDSI’s systems, and later confirmed that the files contained some MGH dental practice information. PDSI reported the incident to law enforcement. Thereafter, law enforcement investigators required that any notification to potentially affected individuals and any public announcement of the incident should be withheld while they were conducting their investigation. On May 26, 2016, law enforcement gave permission to notify, and MGH began this notification as quickly as possible once the hospital had completed its investigation.

Based on MGH’s investigation, with the cooperation of PDSI, it was determined that the files stored by PDSI included limited information related to some of its dental practice patients. That information included patient name, date of birth and Social Security number and, in some instances, may have also included date and type of dental appointment, dental provider name and medical record number.

MGH is committed to the security of all of the sensitive information maintained by its third-party vendors and is taking this matter very seriously. To help prevent this type of incident from happening again, PDSI took steps to enhance the security of its systems that maintain dental practice data. MGH began mailing letters to affected individuals June 29, 2016, and has established a dedicated call center to answer any questions affected individuals may have.

Additional information about this incident can be found on the MGH website.

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Michael Morrison, Mass General Public Affairs, mdmorrison@mgh.harvard.edu; 617-724-6425

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