Tech notes: ChristianaCare reports vendor data breach; DSU research grant; New Castle top tech county

Tech notes: ChristianaCare reports vendor data breach; DSU research grant; New Castle top tech county

ChristianaCare announced it is mailing letters to some of its patients advising them of a data security incident that occurred at one of its vendors, Blackbaud, Inc.

Blackbaud is a vendor that provides ChristianaCare and many other non-profit organizations with data solution services related to donors and fundraising activities.

On July 16, Blackbaud informed ChristianaCare it had discovered that an unauthorized individual had gained access to Blackbaud’s systems between February 7 and May 20. Blackbaud advised that the unauthorized individual may have acquired backup copies of databases used by its customers, including a backup of a database ChristianaCare uses for fundraising activities.

Based on its investigation, ChristianaCare has reason to believe the database may have contained some patient information, including names, dates of birth, mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, gift amounts, and/or last visit date.

No information about Social Security numbers, financial account, or credit card information was involved. This incident did not affect access to ChristianaCare’s medical systems or electronic health records.

ChristianaCare is examining how it stores information within Blackbaud and re-evaluating its security safeguards.

Although ChristianaCare is not aware of any misuse of the information involved in the incident, ChristianaCare recommends as a best practice that patients always review the statements they receive from healthcare providers and contact the provider that issued the statement immediately if the statement contains services that they did not receive or transactions that they do not recognize.

ChristianaCare has established a dedicated call center to answer any questions about this incident at 1-877-461-2590, available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. eastern, excluding major U.S. holidays.

DSU researcher awarded two grants

National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense awarded two grants totaling more than $700,000 to Dr. Mohammed Khan, associate professor of optics at Delaware State University, and the Principal Investigator.

A three-year $529,968 DoD grant has been awarded for research entitled “Ultra-High Precision Sensing of Isotopic Signatures using Mid-Infrared (Dual) Frequency Comb Spectroscopy.”

The research will play a role for basic research in optics and chemical sensing relevant to initiatives by U.S. Army research programs – which are specified under the interdisciplinary areas of optics, earth sciences – to better understand modern-day threats such as chemical warfare agents and explosives.

Khan is working on the project with researchers from the U.S. Army Research Office/Laboratory.

A two-year $199,714 NSF grant will fund a project entitled “Catalyst Project: Enhancing Undergraduate Research, Innovation and Education in Engineering and Computer, as well as the Integration of Smart Sensors Design and Citizen Science.” This project will feature student innovation and entrepreneurship, which will involve the design and development of independent projects that will deliver field prototypes of environmental and human health sensing and monitoring systems.

Low-cost, technologies and field-based engineering prototypes developed in the project will address challenges relating to the impact of climate change, and indoor and outdoor pollution on underserved communities.

The project will also involve the DEL-AWARE Citizens Science Program, involving a diverse group of participants from academia, local environmental agencies/organizations, communities, schools, hospitals and health services in the First State.

In addition to Dr. Khan, Dr. Marwan Rasamny, chair of the University’s Division of Physics, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, is the co-Principal Investigator of the Catalyst Project.

Some of the Catalyst Project work take place in the Division’s “Makerspace” – a lab in the Mishoe Science Center that provides students with technology resources and raw materials to inspire innovation.

New Castle County ranks eighth in tech prowess

The New Castle County Information System was ranked eighth-best among counties with a population of 500,000-999,999.

The rankings, announced by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties released the results during the 18th annual Digital Counties Survey. T

The survey identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that streamline delivery of government services, encourage open data, collaboration and shared services, enhance cybersecurity and contribute to disaster response and recovery efforts.

County Executive Matt Meyer noted that Michael Hojnicki, Chief of Technology and Administrative Services, worked with his team to develop and implement a plan that included rebuilding the network infrastructure, delivering a centralized voice communication system, migrating systems to the cloud, and redesigning cybersecurity defenses.

“This is a tribute to the hard work of the men and women of the County information systems team,” Hojnicki said. “It is truly amazing to see the amount of work the small team has accomplished over the past 3 ½ years and we have no doubt that New Castle County will continue to benefit from our investment in technology for years to come.”

Neighboring Chester County, PA ranked 10th in the survey.

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