About a quarter of all healthcare consumers have been the victims of healthcare data breaches, according to a new study by Accenture—and nearly have of those people ended up victims of medical identity theft. The cost? On average, $2,500 in out-of-pocket costs per incident, paid by the victim. Breaches were most likely to occur in hospitals, though urgent care centers, pharmacies, physician offices, and health insurers were also fertile ground for hackers and identity thieves. Half of the consumers victimized by a breach discovered it as an error on their credit card statement or benefits explanation. In comparison, only a third of consumers were alerted to the breach by the organization where it occurred; 15% were alerted by a government agency. Accenture’s chief of cybersecurity pleaded with healthcare organizations to stay vigilant in keeping patient information safe. Urgent care operators who want to ensure they’re doing just that are advised to have their systems evaluated by online security experts.
Report is a Wakeup Call to Beef Up Data Security