Study on health data breaches: $6 billion/year

If you are in the field and wondering why your favorite HIT people have a dark cloud above and rain pelting their heads, finding it hard to focus on your telehealth or eHealth system and all the wonderful patient data it produces…here may be the reasons, according to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute for IDExperts (data security):

  • Data breaches cost the healthcare industry $6 billion per year
  • Data breaches cost healthcare organizations an average of $1 million per year
  • Lack of staff and preparation (policies and processes) are blamed for most data breaches
  • Protecting patient data is not a top priority for 70% of the hospitals surveyed
  • The HITECH Act has exposed lax practices without improving the industry‚Äôs approach to data protection

The research was based on in-depth interviews of 211 senior-level managers at 65 healthcare organizations.

medical_data_breachThe risks–financial and medical identity theft, embarrassment and ‘public exposure’–are no laughing matter to patients. What is also a bit scary is the last comment (in the blog post): in healthcare organizations migrating from paper charts to EHRs, there’s little consideration for protecting patient data and far more for financial.

This may be our own WikiLeaks. Another analogy: it’s a dam that is barely holding–and the data produced by telehealth, eHealth and mHealth systems raise the level of the river. As a faithful TA reader, you know this is confirmation and not surprise. Poor privacy practice is ailing healthcare industry (Dr. Ponemon’s blog post). Press release. Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security: complimentary download (registration required) and webinar.