Health IT Pulse

May 5 2017   2:08PM GMT

2016 healthcare data breaches surpass last year’s record

Tayla Holman Tayla Holman Profile: Tayla Holman

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Data breach

Healthcare data breaches hit an all-time high in 2016, according to a report by Bitglass. However, the volume of leaked records caused by 2016 healthcare data breaches decreased from the previous year, according to the report. In 2015, however, 113 million Americans were affected, including 11 million Premera Blue Cross customers and 78.8 million Anthem customers.

Furthermore, so far in 2017, only 1.5 million records have been breached, suggesting that the total number of breaches will continue to decline. However, healthcare organizations need to remain diligent to prevent breaches from occurring.

Although the number of individuals affected in 2016 decreased compared to 2015, when it comes to healthcare organizations, that is not the case. In 2016, healthcare data breaches affected 328 healthcare firms, surpassing the previous record of 268 in 2015.

Experts believe that the industry will be playing catchup as far as cybersecurity spending in 2017 to combat the growing number of threats. There are also new cybersecurity technologies, such as identity access control, that can make it harder for hackers to gain entry into the hospital network.

Five of the largest 2016 healthcare data breaches (80%) were due to hacking or IT incidents. In 2017, the largest breach was due to theft and the next four largest were due to hacking.

The Bitglass report also found that unauthorized disclosures comprised 40% of 2016 healthcare data breaches, making it the leading cause of breaches. Unauthorized disclosure includes non-privileged access to protected health information and personally identifiable information.

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