Quest Diagnostics data breach leaves 34,000 vulnerable

Quest Diagnostics' MyQuest by Care360 app allows patients to receive diagnostics results and view and share health data. Image: Ed Uthman CC BY-SA 2.0

Quest Diagnostics announced Monday that it was investigating a breach into its MyQuest app that exposed the personal health data of about 34,000 people. The company is working to ward off similar attacks in the future.

The Myquest by Care360 app allows patients to schedule appointments with Quest, receive lab results and securely view and share their medical and health information. In an “unauthorized intrusion,” a third party accessed names, dates of birth, lab results and in some cases, phone numbers, the diagnostics player said in a statement. All affected individuals have been informed.

While there is “no indication that individuals’ information has been misused in any way,” Quest “immediately” tackled the breach and is working with a cybersecurity firm to assess its other systems, it said in the statement. The investigation is ongoing.

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Quest offers a range of diagnostic services, ranging from simple blood tests to gene-based and molecular testing. It also offers clinical trials testing and Health IT. The Care360 platform enables physicians to order lab tests, receive results, share clinical information and prescribe drugs, according to the company.

Most recently, the diagnostics giant launched Watson for Genomics in collaboration with IBM. This version of the Jeopardy-winning supercomputer marries cognitive computing with genomic tumor sequencing in a bid to advance precision medicine in cancer. The service enables a physician to send a tumor biopsy to Quest, where the sample is prepared and genetically seqeunced. Watson compares the individual tumor’s data against a wealth of information from clinical, scientific and pharmacological databases to select the most appropriate treatment options. A Quest pathologist then reviews Watson’s output and then sends treatment recommendations to the treating physician.

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