Health data breaches are soaring, investigation finds

Medical Economics

Jeffrey Bendix

Hacking is growing especially quickly

Breaches of personal health data, especially by hacking, have risen sharply in recent years and affected more than 46 million Americans in 2021, according to a newly-released investigation of health data breaches conducted and reported by the website POLITICO.

POLITICO analyzed more than six years of breach data reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR). It found that data breaches occurred in 2021 in every state except South Dakota, with hacks accounting for 74% of those.

By contrast, hacks made up 35% of breaches in 2016. It quotes Mac McMillian, CEO of the cybersecurity firm CynergisTek calling the health care industry “easy pickings” for hackers.

“It’s [not]...

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