Recent studies are showing that the number of HIPAA Data breaches is steadily growing. Numbers have been increasing greatly since 2009. The overall number of breaches is steadily increasing while the cause of a large majority of these breaches is disturbingly based in theft. In fact theft is behind 55% of all HIPAA data breaches. Unauthorized access is second in the list at 19% of the total number of HIPAA data breaches. In light of these increasing numbers, it is expected that HIPAA rules and requirements will be changing.
The largest data breach on record happened at Anthem just a few months ago. The motivation behind that breach was also theft. In this case, patient information was stolen. Entities have to worry not only about the fines that will be tied to such a breach, but any lawsuits brought against them by consumers affected by such a breach. It is important that all HIPAA covered entities make sure that all their security systems are up to HIPAA requirements, but keep in mind that employees are often one of the main sources of HIPAA data breaches. In this case, it often involves technology such as laptops or smartphones being stolen from employee’s homes or cars. However, this is also a violation of policy as all patient information is supposed to be stored on protected and secured devices.
With so much change within the field of technology, healthcare entities and government agencies alike are both struggling to maintain the security of patient information. Many changes and updates are likely to come in the wake of massive breaches like the one at Anthem. Time will tell how much those changes will affect healthcare entities and business associates.