A new report based on the Brookings Institution anticipates a trend regarding HIPAA data breaches in 2015, claims how the healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to attack and that there’s a lack of consequences for healthcare providers that violate HIPAA Rules.
The report suggests that if HIPAA hacks are to be avoided, healthcare providers, health plans, clearing houses and business associates must invest more heavily in IT security and must certainly have incentive to make changes to improve privacy and security standards.
The Brookings Institution was founded in 1916 following the formation of the Institute for Government Research (IGR), and was the first organization devoted to analyzing public policy issues at the national level. The organization has produced numerous influential proposals for Congress, homeland security and a number of intelligence operations and has helped shaped debates and has influenced national policies.
The most recent report focuses on data security in the healthcare industry, and the timing associated with its release couldn’t be more appropriate, in the week that followed the successful hacking belonging to the nation’s second largest health insurer and caused the largest ever exposure of healthcare data with up to 80 million past and present policy holders potentially affected.
Brookings analyzed data breaches which had been reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights since 2008. The report indicates that HIPAA breaches have increased by 1800% since 2008, when the annual breach count was just 13. In 2013, the OCR received 256 reports of data breaches which had potentially exposed the records of significantly more than 500 individuals.
In 2008, the total number of victims starting from the HIPAA breaches was approximately 500,000, however in a mere six years that number has risen up to almost 9 million individuals. Healthcare providers have actually recorded the biggest quantity of data breaches, followed by business associates, health plans and healthcare clearing houses.