Federal data shows 110 million Americans had health records stolen in 2015: bswift Blog

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Federal data shows 110 million Americans had health records stolen in 2015

by Kelley M. Butler, Director of Content, bswift

March 24th, 2016

Data security image for benefits and HR professionals bswift blog post

A new report from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), should capture the attention—and raise the concern—of all HR/benefits professionals. The organization’s Hacking Healthcare IT in 2016 reads that “among all of America's critical infrastructures, the health care sector is the most targeted [by] hackers, intent on exploiting vulnerabilities in their insecure and antiquated networks.”

One could dismiss the report as mere bluster, if not for federal data to back it up: According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there were more than 230 health care data breaches in 2015, which equals upwards of 110 million Americans who had their health records stolen last year.

ICIT researchers indicate several reasons why hacking health data is easier than accessing other types of records, including outdated technology systems and a lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals. However, the organization points out that stealing health data (where hackers can access financial and personal ID info, too) is simpler because data security often takes a backseat to patient health. The ICIT report reads: “No one cares how the patient's birth date will be stored when the patient is in the middle of a heart attack.”

Such data vulnerabilities make it all the more important for HR/benefits professionals to stay vigilant and prepared when dealing with health and medical information for employees and families.

Gain proven strategies in using emerging technology to develop and implement innovative security controls at bswift Summit 2016, set for May 5–6 in Chicago. Among the Summit speakers is Jim Routh, Chief Information Security Officer at Aetna. A data security expert with more than three decades of experience, Routh will discuss security strategies employers can use to help protect sensitive data, maximize benefits investments and soothe employee fears.

Find additional Summit details on Routh’s session, the full agenda, registration, hotel accommodations and more.


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