Healthcare is a domain that uses data extensively. All the records associated with the patients regarding their medicines, methods of treatment, diagnosis, pathological tests, and results are maintained in data format these days for convenience. Hence, the healthcare industry is one of those industries that depend largely on the data for smooth operations.
However, with massive data handling comes the treat of unfair practices of data breaching. The healthcare industry alone accounts for a staggering volume of a data breach of 15 million patients. Though the accounted numbers reflect a volume as substantial as 15 million, there remains a fair chance of this figure to be something around 25 million if the entire data breaching scenario of the healthcare sector can be taken under consideration including the cases which get reported after the HIPAA specified time of 60 days.
Protenus breach barometer is supposed to be the most trusted yardstick for measuring the volume of a data breach in the healthcare industry. The same reflects the numbers of breaches to be the highest in the recent past during the early half of 2019 and specifically in April 2019. With such outlandish volumes of data breaching, 2019 surely has set a new benchmark for HIPAA to consider.
Primary Reason For Data Breach In Healthcare Industry
Sourcing out the responsibility of maintaining the huge data related to the healthcare sector lies at the bottom of this catastrophe. Handling the huge volumes of data that any healthcare institution deals with requires a dedicated team of professionals capable of managing data efficiently. This again involves a substantial amount of time and resources and costs the organization a fair share. To skip the hassles, most of the institutions give the responsibility of maintaining data to third-party vendors, who often indulge in malpractices like selling data to external sources or revealing data to others in exchange for a price. The year 2019 has seen the worst evidence of data breach in healthcare according to the recent investigations.
The Way To Deal With The Problem
The data breach has always been one of the primary problems of the healthcare sector. No matter how hard the organizations try, they will always face the hazard of the data breach as long as they will continue sourcing out the data management process to third party vendors. The immediate way out seems to be maintaining a dedicated data cell within the organization and keep a thorough check on their work. But, the cost involved can be an obstacle in making this idea work in reality for many organizations. This will also lead to an initial stage of diminished return enhancing the operation cost.
As an alternative, the organizations must at first understand that there would be a breach every time they hand over their data to a vendor. But, they also have to maintain a positive mindset to stay put in such situations and make enough arrangements to ensure minimum damage and maximum security of the data outsourced. Holding on to patience in times of crisis is always the best way out, and in situations like these, one must be ready with a backup plan.
The Exemplary Cases Of Data Breach In 2019
AMCA Data Breach:
AMCA, also known as American Medical Collection Agency, got hacked between August 2018 and March 2019. AMCA covered several institutions and organization and many of them suffered the outcomes of the data leakage. Although the investigation is still going on and the exact number of affected patients is yet to be disclosed by the investigating authorities, the speculated number shows an astonishing volume of 25 million.
Dominion National is a reputed insurer in the healthcare market, and they reported a nine-year-long hack on their servers. Further investigation revealed that about 3 million patient’s data was hacked during this time. However, the authorities have taken appropriate measures to keep the servers secured for any such hacking in the future.
Inmediata health group:
The reason for the data breach of this organization was resultant on a misconfigured database maintained by the organization. Data of almost .5 million patients got impacted through this breaching of data. The aligned department got to detect this problem after they spotted an indexed order for the internal WebPages of Inmediata.
For the University Of Michigan, the problem has been almost the same variety. A misconfigured database caused the data to get published online for 974000 patients whom the authorities notified after realizing the leakage.
Wolverine solutions group:
The systems of Wolverine Solution Group got infected by ransomware in September 2019 and they circulated emails to their patients informing the same after a while.
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