Approximately 29 million health records were affected by data breaches between 2010 and 2013 in the US — 67 per cent of which were stored electronically.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, these data breaches involved unencrypted information that could be identified and tied back to individuals.
Overall, 58 per cent of the data breaches occurred via theft. The other 42 per cent had to do with loss or improper disposal of data, unauthorised access or disclosure of health information, and hacking or information technology incidents. In 67 per cent of cases, data breaches involved health information stored electronically.
“Given the rapid expansion in electronic health record deployment since 2012, as well as the expected increase in cloud-based services… the frequency and scope of electronic health care data breaches are likely to increase,” the researchers write in the study. These security breaches could involve everything from health sensors and gene sequencing technology, to predictive analytics and personal health records.