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Medical Data Breaches Surged Last Year

Exposed patient records increased by nearly double

Friday, February 03, 2012
Medical Data Breaches Surged Last YearThe number of patient records that were exposed in data breaches throughout 2011 almost doubled from the total observed in 2010.

A study by the IT security consulting firm Redspin found that the number of exposed patient records rose 97 percent in 2011 to a total of more than 19 million affected consumers, according to a report from Infosecurity. Those records were compromised in a total of 385 recognized breaches, though the study only considered incidents in which 500 or more individuals were exposed.

Malicious data breaches in particular proved problematic, the report said. In all, they comprised 60 percent of those incidents reported last year.

"As electronic health records become more widely adopted, it is quite logical that the data becomes concentrated more highly," said Daniel Berger, Redspin's president and chief executive officer, told the site.

Brian McGinley, the senior vice president of data risk management for Identity Theft 911, maintains a blog about what organizations can do to better protect sensitive information on consumers, as well as what those affected by data breaches can do to safeguard themselves from being hit by fraud.

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