Phishing Scam at Children's Mercy may have Impacted 63K Patients | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Phishing Scam at Children's Mercy may have Impacted 63K Patients

July 9, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

An email phishing scam that targeted Children’s Mercy Hospital employees last December may have impacted the personal data of more than 63,000 individuals, according to an updated report in The Kansas City Star.

Last December, the Children's Mercy information security team detected unauthorized account access to two employee email accounts associated with a phishing email leading to a fake website, the patient care organization posted on its website at the time. Two additional employee email accounts were accessed by unauthorized persons later that month, and one more employee account feel victim to the scam in January.

Officials then determined that the mailbox accounts for four of the five affected employees were downloaded by unauthorized individuals, though at the time Children's Mercy said while it would be notifying patients, it was not aware of any misuse of patient information.

Recently, a Children's Mercy spokeswoman said in an email to The Star: "The hospital identified 63,049 individuals that were potentially affected, which includes a subset of patients. The information involved varied.”

The spokeswoman’s email continued, per the report, “Because the email accounts had a large amount of data that had to be evaluated, we have notified individuals in groups as we progressed through the process. The hospital has taken and continues to take steps to protect against any further incidents. These steps have included the implementation of the additional technical control of multi-factor authentication."

Indeed, Children’s Mercy has established a call center and an informational webpage to provide answers to families who may have been affected. Additionally, Children’s Mercy is offering free identity theft protection to those families.

Broadly speaking, phishing attacks continue to plague the healthcare industry. A recent cybersecurity survey conducted by the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) revealed that 64 percent of respondents who have experienced a security incident in the last year indicated that the initial point of compromise was via e-mail (e.g., phishing e-mail). Indeed, according to that report, the top threat actor was the online scam artist involved in activities such as phishing and spear phishing.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



ONC Roundup: Senior Leadership Changes Spark Questions

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has continued to experience changes within its upper leadership, leading some folks to again ponder what the health IT agency’s role will be moving forward.

Media Report: Walmart Hires Former Humana Executive to Run Health Unit

Reigniting speculation that Walmart and insurer Humana are exploring ways to forge a closer partnership, Walmart Inc. has hired a Humana veteran to run its health care business, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Value-Based Care Shift Has Halted, Study Finds

A new study of 451 physicians and health plan executives suggests that progress toward value-based care has stalled. In fact, it may have even taken a step backward over the past year, the research revealed.

Study: EHRs Tied with Lower Hospital Mortality, But Only After Systems Have Matured

Over the past decade, there has been significant national investment in electronic health record (EHR) systems at U.S. hospitals, which was expected to result in improved quality and efficiency of care. However, evidence linking EHR adoption to better care is mixed, according to medical researchers.

Nursing Notes Can Help Predict ICU Survival, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that sentiments in healthcare providers’ nursing notes can be good indicators of whether intensive care unit (ICU) patients will survive.

Health Catalyst Completes Acquisition of HIE Technology Company Medicity

Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst, a data analytics company, has completed its acquisition of Medicity, a developer of health information exchange (HIE) technology, and the deal adds data exchange capabilities to Health Catalyst’s data, analytics and decision support solutions.