More Than 40% of Americans Have Suffered a Healthcare Data Breach, According to iSheriff

Nearly 45% of Americans have had sensitive health information compromised via a cyberattack, according to a new white paper from device security specialist iSheriff.

The white paper – citing government sources — chronicles how more than 143 million patient records have been compromised in just the past five years.

Major breaches have occurred at health insurers and providers including UCLA Health Systems, Anthem, Premera, and CareFirst.

iSheriff points out that thieves are targeting health records because they are a tremendously valuable source of data – more so than credit or debit card records.

For thieve, stolen health records can pay dividends for years. For victims of healthcare data theft, the struggle to cope with the theft of data can likewise take years to sort out.

There are currently no standardized remediation procedures for resolving medical identity theft, the company said.

In a cruel irony, some of the improvements being made to health record procedures can actually make patient data more vulnerable.

For instance, converting health records to electronic formats makes the records more portable, and accessible to both caregivers and patients. This can help to reduce both costs and dangerous medical mistakes.

However, that very accessibility and portability can also provide an opening for data thieves, who can use a variety of means to hack into electronic health record databases.

Looking at iSheriff’s briefing, it becomes apparent that what’s missing in today’s health care IT jungle is a single, central authority to look after the security of patient data. Right now, our patchwork networks of insurers, caregivers and billing systems each have their own technology and protocols.

Who is minding the data store? No one entity, that’s for sure.

Until this is resolved, the sensitive health records of millions of Americans will continue to be at great risk.

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