Personal-health data is being breached at 90 percent of industries, research finds

When we think of our personal health data being stolen, usually thoughts go to a hospital or insurance company data breach.  According to a recent report by The Atlantic (12/17, Waddell), this is far from the case.  In fact, a research report by Verizon’s business division indicates that 90 percent of industries, from construction to mining to finance, have experienced breaches of personal health information. 

While these industries may not keep extensive health records on employees, many do maintain records that relate to wellness, employee benefits, and worker’s compensation claims.  Within these records is a myriad of personal health and identity data that can be exploited by thieves.   These aren’t often the grand hacking operations that you hear about on the news, but rather the result of a careless loss of sensitive equipment or even proliferated by an insider of the organization.

Even as some companies begin to take notice and work towards safeguarding this information, damage to both the individuals and the healthcare system has resulted from the breaches.  Studies show that patients who don’t have confidence in the security of their information may not be as forthcoming with their healthcare providers.  This could create barriers to effective treatment and even life-saving diagnoses.

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Steven J. Lipsky MD, FACEP has been a Board Certified Emergency Physician in Arizona for the last 37 years, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley for the last 37 years. Steve Lipsky on Google Plus[/author_info] [/author]

Dr. Steven Lipsky

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