Health IT Pulse

Jan 30 2012   12:08PM GMT

More than 19 million Americans affected by health care data breach

Beastwood Profile: Beastwood

Tags:
data breaches
PHI encryption

More than 19 million Americans have been affected by a health care data breach since September 2009, when tougher HIPAA compliance laws went into effect after the HITECH Act passed.

Under the HITECH Act, HIPAA covered entities and business associates must disclose any health care data breach that has affected more than 500 people. According to Gov Info Security, nearly 400 such incidents have been reported.

More than half of these incidents, 55%, involved lost or stolen electronic devices that had not been encrypted. While the HITECH Act does not explicitly require the use of encryption technology, it does state that the loss of data that has been encrypted does not constitute a data breach. In other words, data loss is not hard to prevent.

An effective enterprise encryption strategy should include software, databases and networks in addition to protected health information itself and mobile devices. It also helps to have a social media policy in place to avoid the embarrassment of a health care data breach on Facebook. Such a breach is unlikely to meet the 500-victim threshold for reporting to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but the negative publicity could be just as damning.

12  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Nate Osit
    Yikes! RT @HITExchange: More than 19 mil affected by #healthIT data breaches, 55% from unencrypted devices http://t.co/woTlMFKO #HITsm
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  • Melodon Software
    Yikes! RT @HITExchange: More than 19 mil affected by #healthIT data breaches, 55% from unencrypted devices http://t.co/woTlMFKO #HITsm
    0 pointsBadges:
    report
  • mary_aspinwall
    Yikes! RT @HITExchange: More than 19 mil affected by #healthIT data breaches, 55% from unencrypted devices http://t.co/woTlMFKO #HITsm
    0 pointsBadges:
    report
  • Beastwood
    Breaches were up a whopping 97% in 2011, according to a Redspin Resources report cited by [A href="http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/health-data-breaches-97-percent-2011"]Healthcare IT News[/A]. "Malicious attacks" in the form of theft, hacking and insider incidents remain the main culprit, but breaches involving unprepared HIPAA business associates also rose.
    1,995 pointsBadges:
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  • Jenny Laurello
    More than 19 mil Americans affected by #healthIT data breach http://t.co/R8w6txJI #HIPAA #EHR #HITsm #hcsm
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  • Dell Healthcare
    RT @HITExchange: More than 19 mil Americans affected by #healthIT data breach http://t.co/mM1SL7kX #HIPAA #EHR #HITsm
    0 pointsBadges:
    report
  • Omar Pons
    RT @HITExchange: More than 19 mil Americans affected by #healthIT data breach http://t.co/mM1SL7kX #HIPAA #EHR #HITsm
    0 pointsBadges:
    report
  • Morris Ng
    More than 19 million Americans affected by health care data breach. http://t.co/IoW8MoBZ #in
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  • Barbara Nichols
    RT @HITExchange: More than 19 mil Americans affected by #healthIT data breach http://t.co/mM1SL7kX #HIPAA #EHR #HITsm
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  • Roger W. Pilney
    RT @HITExchange: More than 19 mil Americans affected by #healthIT data breach http://t.co/mM1SL7kX #HIPAA #EHR #HITsm
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  • Bobby Saini
    More than 19 million Americans affected by health care data breach http://t.co/gTEf2bVZ
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  • ONC tapping public to set security standards for mobile health devices - Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog
    [...] risks associated with these mobile devices, especially with stats like 19 million Americans being affected by a data breach since 2009 coming to [...]
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