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Protenus: More than 1M Patient Records Breached in Q1 2018

May 9, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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More than 1 million patient records were breached in a three-month span between January and March 2018, according to new data released in the Protenus Breach Barometer.

Published by Protenus, a cybersecurity software company that issues a Breach Barometer report each month, the latest data showed that in the first quarter of 2018, the average of at least one data breach per day in healthcare continued to hold true with 110 health data breaches. In all, 1,129,744 patient records were breached in that three-month span.

Year-over-year, the number of records breached is significantly fewer in the first quarter. In fact, in March 2017 alone, data breach incidents tracked by Protenus affected 1.5 million patient records.

What’s more, Protenus’ proprietary data found that healthcare insiders were most likely to snoop on their family members (77 percent of privacy violations in Q1 2018). Snooping on fellow co-workers was the second most common insider-wrongdoing violation, followed by snooping on neighbors and VIPs.

The single largest breach disclosed in Q1 2018 was the result of a hacking incident that involved an Oklahoma-based healthcare organization. This breach was the result of an unauthorized third-party that gained access to the health system’s network which stored patient billing information for nearly 280,000 patients.

Protenus data also found that if healthcare employees breach patient privacy once, there is a greater than 20 percent chance that they will breach privacy again in three months’ time, and a greater than 54 percent chance they will do it again in a years’ time. This evidence indicates healthcare organizations accumulate risk that compounds over time when proper detection, reporting, and education do not occur, according to the researchers

The Breach Barometer reported that it takes healthcare organizations an average of 244 days to detect a breach once it has occurred. “This evidence reinforces the growing need for proactive monitoring of all accesses to patient data, which is quickly becoming a standard best practice for healthcare organizations across the country,” the researchers concluded.

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