Data Leaks of Healthcare Information

A Downside of Digital Ease.

Ken Pope (via his listserv) follows this ongoing story quite closely. The updates come at an alarming rate. For those considering psychotherapy, there is an upside to not using your insurance, since insurance companies are increasingly digitizing their information. The convenience of digital information is also its curse. You can make an near infinite number of copies at the slip of a keystroke — not something you necessarily want with private information. Here’s an excerpt from a recent, overarching iteration, from Gov Info Security “20 Million Affected by Health Breaches” by Howard Anderson:

The federal tally of individuals affected by major healthcare information breaches since September 2009 now exceeds 20 million.

But two recently reported major incidents, estimated to have affected a combined total of more than 675,000, have yet to make the list, which now includes 435 incidents.

As of May 23, the breach list includes 29 incidents in 2012 affecting a total of about 935,000.

By far the largest of those breaches is a Utah Department of Health hacking incident affecting 780,000 individuals, including Medicaid clients, Children’s Health Insurance Plan recipients and others.

Not yet on the list are:

An Emory Healthcare breach involving 10 missing computer disks, affecting 350,000 surgical patients; and

A South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services breach affecting 228,000 Medicaid recipients.

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