Healthcare Data Breaches – Computer Hacking or Something Even More Worrying?

Data breaches that occur in any industry can have widespread ramifications for consumers. However, when it comes to breaches in the healthcare industry, the consequences can be even more severe. In addition to gaining access to a patient’s personal identifiable information that can be used to open financial accounts or file fraudulent tax returns, fraudsters can utilize stolen healthcare data to access medical prescriptions or even file fraudulent insurance claims and more.

When it comes to healthcare data breaches, what method of attack do you believe is the most prevalent? A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that 6 in 10 health data breaches were due to “criminal activity” or rather, the theft of paper or electronic medical records, as opposed to computer hacking. By improving identity verification techniques, healthcare providers can ensure that their legitimate patients are cared for and their records are secure.










What’s at Stake?

Between 2010 and 2013, 29 million medical records were compromised – and that number is anticipated to rise to hundreds of millions in 2015 given the recent and highly publicized breaches. While news reports would lead one to believe that the majority of these breaches were caused by computer hacking, JAMA learned that the theft of paper or medical electronic records through other methods was the main culprit.

This poses a significant threat to consumers. Many fraudsters use the information gathered from a data breach to assume a person’s identity. In some cases, criminals will exploit a stolen identity to receive medical treatment and leave the legitimate patient with the bill. In addition, when a fraudster receives treatment, that information goes on the original patient’s record and can lead to potentially life-threatening developments.

There is no question – a lot is at stake. Last week we launched in infographic about the evolving patient portal and how with increased adoption, brings increased risk. View the infographic here. All things considered, healthcare organizations need to ensure they are protecting the security and privacy of patient data.

Protecting Access to Medical Records

With so much sensitive information contained in each patient’s medical record, it is necessary for organizations to protect data and restrict access to only users with legitimate rights to it. Enhancing identity verification processes limits the possibility of a fraudster receiving care, making claims against an insurance provider, or using an assumed identity to sign up for new accounts or treatment. At the same time, it can make the process easier for legitimate patients and improves their overall experience. Patients are also able to communicate with physicians directly and securely online when safeguards are put in place that allows them to easily access their records.

Healthcare providers also benefit because patients and their doctors are able to develop stronger relationships. IDology’s ExpectID solution helps verify patient identity and deter fraud through multi-layered authentication methods. To learn more about IDology’s fraud platform and schedule an online demonstration, contact an IDology representative today at (866) 520-1234.


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