An estimated 16 million patient records were stolen in the United States in 2016, and last summer the British health system was crippled by a ransomware attack. While we know these events are on the rise, what do we know about the hospitals that are vulnerable to these attacks?
A study in The American Journal of Managed Care took on this question, and found that while the network attacks in the headlines do affect millions of people, a more mundane problem – improper disposal or theft of paper records and patient films – happens more often, though fewer people are affected in each case. Researchers uncovered these findings by systematically reviewing records from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The researchers examined the data collected between October 2009 and July 2016. They studied nonfederal acute care hospitals. While OCR tracks breaches affecting more than 500 people – and fines health systems over violations – it took this research team to pore over the records and describe what kinds of hospitals are more (or less) likely to experience a breach.
Read more about the findings of the study in The American Journal of Managed Care on Help Net Security.