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Health Data Breach Tally: A Mid-Year Update

What Trends Does the Breach List Reveal So Far in 2019?

The number of hacking/IT incidents reported so far this year “is not a good trend,” says Tom Walsh, president of consulting firm tw-Security.

“According to Roger Severino, the HHS director of the Office for Civil Rights, and the stats he shared at HIMSS 2019, there were 149 hacking/IT incidents in all of 2018,” Walsh adds. “We’re already at 85 percent of last year’s number and we’re only half way through 2019.”

… But, Walsh argues, “The number of reportable breaches involving loss/theft of electronic gear such as laptops is still too high.”

… Walsh says he’s hopeful BA-related incidents will fall as the year goes on.

“A trend we are seeing is that more covered entities are vetting their vendors before signing a contract as well as asking current business associates to demonstrate how they are handling risk and HIPAA compliance, mainly through the completion of questionnaires and evidence collection,” he notes.

“This is a good trend which should hopefully reduce the number of breaches involving business associates. It’s time for business associates to improve their security posture and maturity,” Walsh says. “They have skin in the game. While the number of breaches are slowly on the decline, the number of patient lives affected by a breach related to business associates remains high.”


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