in HIPAA Headlines by John Brewer

As reported in the Time Free Press, the personal information of more than 1,700 patients of a local Chattanooga, TN doctor’s office has been lost.

This family practice office had been using a computer flash drive, commonly referred to as a “thumb drive” as their off site computer backup.

This thumb drive was not encrypted.

They don’t know what happened to the thumb drive, “…it probably was thrown out by housekeeping, it wasn’t anything done intentionally or anything like that.”

This is scary stuff folks.

Thumb drives are small and easy to lose.

Listen loud and clear: Do NOT Use a Thumb Drive to Store PHI!!

We don’t even like PHI on a laptop.

There is a proper way to do off site backup (see

If you absolutely must put PHI on a thumb drive or a laptop…any portable storage device, you MUST have that device encrypted.

For more information on encryption, see read this: encrypt HIPAA data.