Healthcare News & Insights

Stolen medical records one of the most lucrative forms of ID theft

Breaches of patient health data are on the rise, and they’re not likely to slow down, as reports show health information is one of the most lucrative types of data for cybercriminals to steal.

Electronic health records from a single patient can earn criminals $50 on the black market, according to data reported at the recent Digital Health Conference in New York City. That’s a lot more than what’s paid for other information commonly used in identity theft, such as Social Security numbers ($3), credit card information ($1.50) and date of birth ($3).

Why is health information so valuable? According to the Federal Trade Commission, that data can be used to file lucrative false insurance claims, buy prescription drugs and get health care at the victim’s expense, among other things.

What it means for health IT professionals is that criminals will continue working hard to steal patients’ information from electronic health record systems, so healthcare providers will need to work just as hard to keep up.

One tactic recommended by conference presenters, according to MedPage Today: keeping a close watch on system logs that show when and from where records are accessed and using unusual activity as a tip-off for a possible breach.

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