Healthcare News & Insights

The No. 1 cause of health data breaches is …

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services found that the leading cause of health information being lost is frustratingly simple:

Stolen laptops.

According to the report, 52% of data breaches affecting more than 500 people were caused when a laptop was stolen. Another 20% were due to unauthorized access and disclosure, and 16% were caused by loss of data.

While it’s not possible to eliminate the chance of a laptop (or mobile devices, desktop computers, etc.) being stolen, health care organizations can reduce their vulnerability by ensuring all information and devices are encrypted. In that case, even if the device goes missing, the data isn’t accessible to anyone.

Health data is particularly valuable on the black market, since they’re relatively easy to turn into false Medicare claims. According to security experts, stolen medical information and Medicare numbers cost a lot more to buy than a person’s Social Security Number.

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