News Release

Health data breaches on the rise

Peer-Reviewed Publication

JAMA Network

Bottom Line: The ongoing transition to electronic health records may increase data breaches involving patient records. An analysis of reported breaches of health data from 2010 through 2017 found that except for 2015, the number of breach reports increased each year. During this time there were 2,149 breaches comprising a total of 176.4 million records. The most common entity breached was a health care provider, with 1,503 breaches (70 percent) compromising a total of 37.1million records. Health plans accounted for the largest share of breached records (110.4 million). There was an increasing number of breaches associated with health care providers over time. The greatest numbers of records breached were accessed via network-connected information. A limitation of the study is that the results describe trends but do not allow for inferences about the causes of those trends.

Authors: Thomas H. McCoy Jr., M.D., and Roy H. Perlis, M.D., M.Sc., Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and Associate Editor, JAMA Network Open (Dr. Perlis)

Related Material

Previously published by JAMA:

Data Breaches of Protected Health Information in the United States

Keeping Personal Health Information Safe


To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.


Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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