In 2015, Health Care Data Is Hacking Target
The Washington Post reports that this type of data breach is on the upswing. The health care information of more than 120 million people has been compromised since 2009, and this year's major incidents are reasons to look carefully at the issue. ProPublica reports on the office at the Department of Health and Human Services that examines these complaints. Meanwhile, insurance regulators in Washington state and Alaska are digging into the cyberattack on Premera Blue Cross, which was reported last week.
The Washington Post:
2015 Is Already The Year Of The Health-Care Hack — And It’s Only Going To Get Worse.
Last year, the fallout from a string of breaches at major retailers like Target and Home Depot had consumers on edge. But 2015 is shaping up to be the year consumers should be taking a closer look at who is guarding their health information. Data about more than 120 million people has been compromised in more than 1,100 separate breaches at organizations handling protected health data since 2009, according to Department of Health and Human Services data reviewed by The Washington Post. (Peterson, 3/20)
Despite Wave Of Data Breaches, Official Says Patient Privacy Isn’t Dead
The task of investigating medical data breaches falls to the Office for Civil Rights, a small agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its staff of about 200 investigates thousands of complaints every year, large and small. Last month, ProPublica reported how, as the number of breaches has increased, the office infrequently uses its authority to fine organizations and health providers that fail to safeguard patient records. ... [The office’s director, Jocelyn Samuels,] sat down with ProPublica to talk about the current state of health privacy. (Ornstein, 3/20)
Washington, Alaska Lead Probe Into Hacking Of Health Insurer
Insurance regulators in states including Washington and Alaska are launching an investigation into the cyberattack on health insurer Premera Blue Cross. State watchdogs will look into “what happened, how it happened, and what the end result or consumer impact is,” Lori Wing-Heier, director of Alaska’s Division of Insurance, said Friday. (Tracer, 3/20)
But other news outlets report on big data's promise and potential -
The Sacramento Bee:
California Puts Big Dose Of Health Care Data On The Internet
California public health leaders are joining an open data movement that is igniting enthusiasm nationwide for its potential to improve health care delivery. The hope is that health care policymakers, tech-savvy entrepreneurs, advocacy groups, coders – or anybody with a computer and Internet access – will mine the data to identify gaps, and fixes, in California’s public and private health care systems. (Craft, 3/20)
Wireless Sensors Help Scientists Map Staph Spread Inside Hospital
Staph infections are common problems in health care facilities, and many Staphylcoccus aureus bacteria are now resistant to drug treatment. ... But wouldn't it be cool to track in detail how staph moves from person to person in the real world? Some French researchers tested a way to do it. They outfitted 261 health care workers and all 329 patients in a long-term care hospital with wireless sensors that recorded their interactions with one another every 30 seconds. (Henley, 3/20)