Healthcare data breaches reach a ‘sizeable number of US consumers’

Healthcare data breaches reach a ‘sizeable number of US consumers’

Approximately 26% of Americans have been compromised by healthcare data breaches, according to a new survey from Accenture.

Approximately 26% of Americans have been compromised by healthcare data breaches, according to a new survey from Accenture.

Approximately 26% of Americans have been compromised by healthcare data breaches, according to a new survey from Accenture.

The global professional services company also found that half of the victims of data breaches had suffered from medical identity theft – a crime that costs consumers an average of $2,500.

In 37% of cases, stolen details were used to purchase items or for other fraudulent activities, such as billing for care. Filling prescriptions (26%) was another way stolen information was used by criminals.

Data that were compromised included social security numbers (31%), contact information (31%) and medical data (31%).

In contrast to credit card fraud, victims of medical identity theft do not benefit from an automatic right to recover losses, making the potential consequences all the more urgent for providers.

Perhaps most worryingly, over a third of survey respondents (36%) claimed the most likely place for a breach to take place was a hospital, while 22% cited care clinics and pharmacies.

Another 21% said they suffered a breach at their physician’s office or their health insurer.

Just one third of victims said they had been alerted to a data breach by the organization where it had occurred, while government agencies were only found to have notified 15% of victims.

“Not only do health organizations need to stay vigilant in safeguarding personal information, they need to build a foundation of digital trust with patients to help weather the storm of a breach,” said, Reza Chapman, managing director of cybersecurity in Accenture’s health practice.

Those words will take on even more relevance following the latest findings, which also discovered that the level of trust in healthcare providers to keep data safe is currently at 88%.

That comes despite fairly recent high-profile breaches at Anthem and Premara, and Excellus, although there is a sense that there is a change of approach on the horizon.

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