An American healthcare supplier has admitted that it lost 6 hard drives containing healthcare records for 950,000 people.

Centene Corp, a US healthcare insurer, does not know what happened to the drives, which contain patient names, addresses, date of birth, social security numbers and personal healthcare information.

“The drives were a part of a data project using laboratory results to improve the health outcomes of our members,” said Centene Corp chief executive Michael Neidorff.

If the information is compromised, the company has said that it will provide free healthcare to those affected.

Fear of bad data management means that healthcare providers in Asia have been slow to modernise their records keeping, with many still using paper files.

Norway, meanwhile, still uses floppy disks to store patient records because a loss would have a minimal impact, in comparison to larger storage devices.

Of course, cloud suppliers would suggest that if the records were stored virtually rather than on devices, they would be far more secure.

This US example shows the fundamental importance of good data management in public sector organisations.