Health Records of About 169 Million People Exposed in Data Breaches in Last Decade

By |2019-09-24T16:05:43+00:00September 24th, 2019|

During the last 10 years more than 169 million people in the United States have had their health records exposed, according to a new study.

The study, published in the “Annals of Internal Medicine,” found that about 150 million people had their Social Security numbers, drivers’ license numbers, and dates of birth compromised through data breaches while the remaining victims had personal information such as their names, email addresses and phone numbers put at risk. About 50 million people also had their medical records exposed, including information such as lab results, diagnoses, and prescriptions. More than 2.4 million people had especially sensitive records, including HIV status, sexually transmitted diseases, and mental health treatment, put at risk.

Along with breaches of medical records, the study found 49 million patients had their financial information, including credit card numbers and bank accounts, compromised.

The study, conducted by Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University researchers, reviewed 1,461 health care data breaches reported from October 2009 to July 1 of this year to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The study comes after another recent report discovered health care is the No. 1 industry affected by data breaches. That report, by the Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Councils, found 25% of all data breaches targeted the health care industry in 2018, the most of any industry.