It seems like almost every day a new healthcare agency, facility, or network is reporting a data breach.
A lot of it may have to do with the fact that many healthcare organizations have outdated IT systems and lack focus and investment in cybersecurity tools. There’s also employee error, which can inadvertently open up the flood gates to hackers. All of this, combined with the treasure trove of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), known in the industry as Protected or “Personal” Health Information (PHI), on their networks, makes healthcare providers an appealing target. In addition, a successful breach can generate millions of dollars for cybercriminals on the Dark Web.
One of the fastest growing and most malicious forms of fraud is Medical Identity Theft. Medical identities are 20 to 50 times more valuable than financial identities due to the rising cost of healthcare in the U.S. In fact, an Electronic Health Record (EHR) can sell for as much as $1,000 on the black market. Compare that to the going rate for Social Security numbers – about 10 cents each.
There’s a good chance that you or someone you know has been a victim of a healthcare data breach. A 2017 survey from Accenture reported that 26 percent of U.S. consumers have had their medical information stolen from technology systems. Below is a look at a few of the worst healthcare data breaches in the second half of 2018 alone:
- Atrium Health – 2.65 million records (November 2018)
- Unity Point Health – 1.4 million records (July 2018)
- Augusta University Health – 417,000 records (August 2018)
- SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – 301,000 records (August 2018)
- Med Associates – 270,000 records (June 2018)
- Adams County, WI – 258,120 records (August 2018)
- Boys Town National Research Hospital – 105,309 records (July 2018)
- S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – 75,000 records (October 2018)
Resources to Help Prevent & Stay Protected from Healthcare Data Breaches
If you work in the healthcare industry or if you think you’ve been a victim of a medical record data breach, here are some resources for you to use personally and share with your colleagues.
- Password Strength Test
- Medical ID Theft Checklist
- Medical Identity Theft (Whitepaper)
- Data Breach News Summary (Table)
- 2018 Data Breaches – The Worst So Far (Blog)
- 8 Tips for 2018 Data Breach Victims (Infographic)
- 7 Tips for Protecting Your Identity (Printable PDF)
- How Medicare Recipients Can Avoid Medical Identity Theft (Blog)
- Risky Business: Data Breach Impact on Your Organization & Employees (Whitepaper)
You Need IdentityForce RapidResponse℠
Nobody can prevent a data breach but, by preparing, you can mitigate the fallout and limit the time it takes to recover. With RapidResponse™ from IdentityForce, we deliver a cost-effective solution that can be rolled out within days or even hours.
Learn more about how our team of dedicated professionals can help breach victims with identity, privacy, and credit protection, identity restoration, and communication plans.