A Windsor obstetrician is warning her patients of a possible privacy breach four months after a computer full of sensitive information was stolen from her office.

In a public notice that appeared in The Star on Wednesday, Dr. Shobhana Patel said a break-in this summer resulted in the loss of a computer containing the personal health data of patients - "namely names, addresses, contact information and health card numbers, as well as OHIP billing codes.

"While the computer was password protected, I have no way of knowing whether the perpetrators have accessed the information contained on the stolen computer," Patel said in the notice.

"I take this matter very seriously," Patel added. "My office has taken a number of immediate steps to address the breach of privacy and prevent it from happening again."

The crime occurred on June 22 in the South Walkerville Medical Centre at 2224 Walker Rd.

The incident was reported to the police, as well as the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

The commissioner's office said Wednesday that the circumstances of the breach are under investigation.

"During this investigation, we will be reviewing the steps that Dr. Patel is taking to ensure that a breach like this does not happen again," said a spokesman for the commissioner. "We may or may not issue a public report at the end of our investigation."

Reached on Wednesday, Patel said she doesn't think any other office at the medical centre was broken into at the time.

Her office is on the main floor.

She's not sure what the thief - or thieves - was looking for. "They got in and they got out pretty quickly," she said.

Patel declined to answer further questions, and directed queries to her lawyer.

However, in the public notice, Patel invited patients to call her at 519-251-8629 if they have any concerns. Ontario's Personal Health Information Protection Act requires that patients affected by a privacy breach be given notice.

Anyone concerned about unauthorized use of their health card is advised to contact ServiceOntario at 1-866-532-3161. It's also been suggested that those concerned contact a credit reporting bureau such as Equifax at 1-800-465-7166 or TransUnion at 1-800-663-9980.

Patel was Windsor's first female obstetrician. When she opened her first office on Tecumseh Road East in 1999, there were only 10 obstetriciangynecologists in the city.

She is a graduate of the medical school at the University of Western Ontario.