SITKA, AK: — A Sitka resident conducting an Internet search recently helped reveal that the personal information of more than 500 patients of a local chiropractor was available on the Web. Dr. Paul Beane, a chiropractor at the Sitka Wellness Center, told the Sentinel an “electronic medical record software vendor” he used for about nine months in 2008 had stored patient information, including names, dates of birth, social security numbers and addresses, on a Web server in an “unsecured text file” that was easily accessible. Beane said up to 566 of his patients had their information compromised, although Sitka police said there have not yet been any reports about suspicious activity that might be tied to the security breach.
He said he “recognized a lot of the names” on the patient list. The patient information has since been removed from the Web and Beane said he is working with Google to have it scrubbed from Internet archives as well. It is not clear how long the information was available on the Internet. Beane put the blame for the leak squarely on EMR4Doctors.com, a company Beane used when he switched to electronic records in April, 2008. “I’m absolutely furious that this happened,” Beane said.
Beane said he used the software provider from about April 2008 to January 2009, when he switched back to paper records. The company, which Beane said is registered in Nevada, apparently stopped doing business in 2009. A number for the company was disconnected, and there was no current listing for it in Las Vegas. Beane said he did not believe the records were posted intentionally, but called the security breach “sloppy and careless.” Allen said that until police receive a report about the information being used fraudulently, no criminal charges will be made. He said police would probably “package up” the information they have about the case and send it to the state attorney general in the next few days. “Until somebody uses the information it’s more of a civil issue,” Allen said. Beane, who is working with a lawyer in Pennsylvania, said he was “exploring his legal options,” which could include a civil lawsuit against the software vendor.
Source: The Anchorage Daily News