Security Breaches Soar for Electronic Medical Records

By Cunningham, Paige Winfield | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, August 6, 2015 | Go to article overview

Security Breaches Soar for Electronic Medical Records


Cunningham, Paige Winfield, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Security hacks of electronic medical records have more than doubled this year, costing the healthcare system $50 billion, according to a new report from the American Action Forum.

A report that the right-leaning think tank provided to the Washington Examiner underscores the extra costs and security problems caused by electronic health records, as doctors and hospitals make troublingly slow progress toward switching from paper to electronic records or improving the ones they already use.

Health record security breaches have soared this year, with more than 94 million electronic medical records compromised so far. That's more than double the total number of records compromised over the six years before 2015. The American Action Forum estimates that all the breaches since 2009 have cost the healthcare system $50.6 billion.

"The dramatic increase in the average number of records compromised in a single breach is alarming and may be a consequence of the more connected health care system for which we are striving," the paper says.

Breaches have resulted in patients' names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers and health records being exposed. Most recently, an Indiana medical software company called Medical Informatics Engineering reported that its networks were hacked earlier this year, compromising the private information of 3.9 million people nationwide, the Department of Health and Human Services said Monday.

In 2009, Congress passed a law that created financial incentives for Medicare and Medicaid providers who achieve goals in using electronic medical records set up by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The intent was to speed up progress toward electronic medical records, also known as "EHRs," which can help providers better coordinate a patient's care, reduce medical errors and ultimately reduce healthcare spending. …

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