Report: 1 in 3 Patients’ Electronic Healthcare Records to Be Compromised

department of work and pensions
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire URN:19967439/AP

IDC’s Health Insights group is making some bold predictions for the immediate future of healthcare. Foremost among them is our ever-increasing vulnerability to data theft.

Through a combination of weak legacy security measures and a drastic increase in patient data being stored online, the group predicts that as many as one in three patients will have the security of their healthcare information compromised next year.

The information is extremely valuable to potential thieves. Research Vice President Lynne Dunbrack suggests that patient records could be up to “fifty times” more valuable than other types of information up for grabs.

Aside from the obvious problems — the common inclusion of both social security and credit card information in medical records — this material could also be effectively utilized to obtain false prescriptions for pharmaceutical drugs for resale.

The FBI already estimates that the healthcare industry has to deal with between $74 and $247 billion in costs related to medical fraud of this nature, and takes up a meaty 10% chunk of annual expenditures. While this should serve as more than ample reason to tighten security, the industry has yet to prioritize the issue. Security remains well behind the times.

Earlier this year, healthcare giant Anthem was breached to the tune of over 70 million individual records, containing everything from membership IDs to names and corresponding social security numbers. Premera added 11 million to the tally, and that’s not even considering the “outrageous” holes in Obamacare. There are numerous solutions to these issues, but thus far we’ve yet to see them applied.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.