University medical records posted on the Internet

Thousands of patient records at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor inadvertently lingered on Internet sites for two months until a student discovered the problem.

"Luckily, we were notified and able to stop it this time before real damage was done," says spokesman Dave Wilkins. "Still, on all fronts, we’re taking it very seriously."

The problem was discovered in mid-February when a university student who was researching a doctor on the medical center’s Web site was linked to files containing private patient records.

The records contained names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, employment status, treatments for specific medical conditions, and other data. The information was used to schedule appointments, Wilkins says. He adds that no one had accessed the records before the student.