When you think of being a patient in the hospital, the last thing you may think about is the safety of your personal data. According to research findings by Michigan State University, the security of your personal information in U.S. hospitals is something to be concerned over. An article on UPI explores the study, showing just how important data protection is in the healthcare industry.

Researchers at MSU conducted a study analyzing data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, looking at data breaches among hospitals and healthcare providers.

Hospitals covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, are required by law to report data breaches affecting 500 or more patients within 60 days to the Department of Health and Human Services.”

The study found that over a seven-year period from October 2009 to December 2016, approximately 1,800 large data breaches containing patient information occurred in U.S. hospitals.

Taking a closer look at the data, of the 1,798 data breaches recorded, healthcare providers were responsible for reporting 1,225 of them. The remaining breaches over the seven-year period were reported by health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and business associates.

216 hospitals, including large teaching hospitals were responsible for reporting 257 breaches, with 33 hospitals reporting they had experienced more than one breach.

What can we learn from these findings? With hospitals being such prominent victims of data breaches, it is crucial that data protection is increased among the healthcare industry.

This study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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