Why 70% of healthcare orgs have suffered data breaches

Digital transformation initiatives bring a slew of data privacy concerns to US health organizations, according to a Thales report.

Why 70% of healthcare orgs have suffered data breaches

With digital transformation initiatives pervading the healthcare industry, many are facing data breaches as a result, according to the 2019 Thales Data Threat Report—Healthcare Edition. The majority (70%) of US healthcare organizations surveyed said they've experienced a data breach, with a third reporting one occurring in the past year alone. 

SEE: AI in healthcare: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

All healthcare organizations (100%) reported collecting, storing, or sharing sensitive data with digital transformation technologies, the report found, but 38% or less are successfully encrypting their data along the way. Healthcare companies face an amplified threat surface with the volume of personal data and information they store, the report said. 

"When sensitive patient information is breached, it poses significantly longer-term risks
compared to other sectors – sometimes indefinitely," Frank Dickson, program vice
president for security products research at IDC, said in a press release. "Healthcare data is especially attractive to hackers because it's far more valuable than other kinds of data that can be accessed and exploited. When healthcare data is stolen, damage cannot be fully mitigated. A credit card can be cancelled or a bank account can be closed, but private patient data circulates endlessly which opens opportunities for various types of fraud to occur again and again from a single breach."

To help mitigate security risks, the report outlined the following recommendations for data privacy protection in healthcare: 

1. Focus on all threat vectors
2. Invest in modern, hybrid, and multi-cloud based data security solutions that can scale to modern architectures
3. Prioritize compliance issues 
4. Adopt new strategies, including encryption and access management

For more, check out AI in medicine: Tech that can improve the patient-doctor experience on TechRepublic.

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Image: iStockphoto/Natali_Mis