A leading health care official estimates that health care data breaches will only increase as our dependence upon electronic data increases.

data breachesIn an article on HealthcareITNews, Jessica Davis provided information from many reports regarding health care data breaches. In a report from Gemalto, a digital security firm, the first six months in 2016 saw 263 incidents, which makes up the largest percentage, 27 percent, of breaches in all industries, including government, retail and the financial sector. Research from the Ponemon Institute and Trend Micro also suggest that health care has the highest number of breaches compared to all other industries and will continue to in the near future.

In speaking with Pam Hepp, a health care attorney who specializes in HIPAA law, Davis concludes that the high percentage of data breaches in health care are due to the industry’s significant reliance on the data it must protect. The fact that employees require access to do their jobs allows hackers to use phishing and ransomware to gain access to protected health information (PHI). And, let’s not forget about those Business Associates who may or may not be protecting health information properly according to the HIPAA standards.

Hepp also reminded us that only a few years ago the biggest issue for health care data was human error and negligence. Now hacking is on equal footing with these other vulnerabilities. And, the number of breaches has continued to increase within the last year.

In the Ponemon report, it showed “malicious outsiders as the main source for breaches, accounting for 69 percent, which is up 56 percent from six months ago.” That’s a huge leap in percentage and in a fairly short amount of time, only six months. This means organizations need to be ready for the outside threats, and step up monitoring efforts. A great way to do that is through Managed Security Services, which provide security alerting as a service.

To fight electronic threats, you need electronic solutions. Old binders of policies and risk assessments that were created five to ten years ago, just won’t cut it. Get started with our electronic, HIPAA compliance solution, HIPAAgps, today to get on the path to protecting your organization’s valuable information!