Patient Record Data Breaches Doubled Last Year

The total number of patient records compromised in the US increased by 97% in 2011 compared with 2010, according to a report released this week by the Redspin consulting firm.

Redspin cites the increasing concentration of protected health information (PHI) on unencrypted portable devices and the lack of sufficient oversight of PHI disclosed to hospital’s business associates as the main reasons for the increase.

Malicious attacks (theft, hacking, and insider incidents) continue to cause 60% of all breaches due to the economic value of personal health records sold on the black market and for medical ID theft used to commit Medicare fraud, the report said.

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