United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that healthcare breaches increased by over 55% in 2020. This translates to a jump from a reported 386 breaches in 2019 to 599 in 2020. The vast majority of these incidents were the result of hacking and IT incidents. These breaches impacted over 24 million patients.
What type of breaches were reported?
These breaches most often involved data security comprises, unauthorized disclosures, and loss or theft of patient information.
Why should healthcare leaders care about these breaches?
These breaches can have an enormous impact on healthcare businesses. The HHS also reported it took an average of 236 days for these organizations to recover from these breaches and cost organizations over $13 billion in 2020 alone.
How can I reduce the risk of a data breach within my organization?
The exact process will vary depending on the organization, but some generalized steps that can reduce this risk include:
- Establish a risk assessment program
- Review and discuss procedures for data management within your organization
- Make sure any vendors or third parties are also using implementing proper safety measures when it comes to use of your organization’s data
- Keep software current and update security regularly
- Encrypt sensitive information
It is important to note that issues that lead to a data breach could also be a red flag for other problems within your organization. As such, these recent reports serve as a reminder of the importance of regular internal audits to help better ensure your organization is in good working order.