Five million people affected by data breaches

April 21, 2011

Are you or any of your patients among the 5 million people who, according to a new white paper from accounting firm Kaufman, Rossin & Co., have been affected in the 166 incidents of data breaches since September 2009?

Are you or any of your patients among the 5 million people who, according to a new white paper from accounting firm Kaufman, Rossin & Co., have been affected in the 166 incidents of data breaches since September 2009?

Laptop computers, computer hard drives, portable electronic devices, and electronic health records were the locations of the breaches affecting the most people. Other locations included desktop computers, network servers, paper records, postcards, mailings, backup tapes, CDs, and email.

Breaches occurred via theft in 58% of cases. Loss was responsible in 14% of instances. Other reasons included unauthorized access (7%), improper disposal (4%), hacking or information technology incidents (2%), and incorrect mailings (1%).

The 166 incidents included 133 covered entities and 33 business associates.

Practices can take several steps to assess their vulnerability, protect patients’ medical information, and reduce the likelihood that a data breach will occur. Among them are employee training and annual Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act-related reviews.