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At the conclusion of 2019, the industry again saw a new record for the number of health data security breaches. In total, 353 healthcare providers were breached with the most common method of breach being hacking/IT incidents. Ransomware is the most common form of hacking, and hackers view healthcare providers as the perfect business to attack because they will be paid to undo the damage they caused. Attackers can not only encrypt vital health data and demand ransom to unlock them, but they can also steal those patient records to use in identity theft and fraud. Patient data is one of the most expensive forms of stolen ID record on the dark web. On average, patient records can sell for up to $1,000 each due to the amount of information found in the documents, including date of birth, credit card information, Social Security number, address, and email. In comparison, Social Security numbers can be purchased for as little as $1, and credit card information sells for up to $110. 

In 2019, more healthcare records were breached than in all of 2016, 2017 and 2018 combined.

A recent survey has highlighted the cost of health data breaches, the extent to which the healthcare industry is under attack, and how often those attacks succeed.

Black Book Market Research surveyed 2,876 security professionals at 733 provider organizations between Q4, 2018, and Q3, 2019. Respondents were asked for their input on cybersecurity, ability to identify vulnerabilities, and security gaps to determine why so many cyberattacks are succeeding. 

96% of surveyed IT professionals believe that cybercriminals are outpacing medical enterprises. This data is no surprise, given that 93% of healthcare organizations reported having experienced a data breach since Q3 2016. According to the report, 57% of organizations had experienced more than five data breaches during that time. More than half of the 2019 health data breaches reported by healthcare organizations resulted from hacks and other attacks by external threat actors.

As section 13402(e)(4) of the HITECH Act requires, the Secretary must post a list of breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals. The infographic to the left illustrates the statistics from Q4 2019 of all healthcare-related data breaches. 2019 set another record for HIPAA enforcement.

Optimum Healthcare IT has in-depth experience helping healthcare organizations address their security and compliance needs. We offer a wide range of services, from strategy development to implementing technology and processes to minimize risks. Our clients include large healthcare systems, community hospitals, and healthcare technology providers who need to ensure that their information technology platforms remain secure and meet regulatory requirements.

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Data Breach 2019 Year End Infographic Optimum Healthcare IT

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