So, you thought 2015 was a bad, bad year in healthcare data insecurity?
Sadly, 2016 is shaping up to be incrementally worse, says a soothsayer at IDC Health Insights, the healthcare arm of the Framingham, Mass., technology market research firm.
One out of 3 individuals will have their healthcare records exposed by cyberattacks in 2016, said Lynne Dunbrack, research vice president for IDC Health.
That will be up from the historic number and size of cyberattacks on healthcare in 2015.
Four of the six largest healthcare data breaches on the public “wall of shame” list kept by the Office for Civil Rights at HHS occurred this year, exposing 104 million individuals' records. Foreign cybercriminals were responsible for all four.
Dunbrack's prediction of a continued cybercrime spree was part of a larger report by the consulting firm on the industry's tech future.
Why are cybercriminals turning to prey on the healthcare industry now? Because financial service and retail industries have tightened up their systems after multiple years of being victims to cyberattack, Dunbrack said in an interview.
"Cybercriminals are now looking for new targets,” she said. “Healthcare organizations have historically invested less in IT, so they also have invested less in security. They are a soft target.”
“And then there's the value of the medical data itself, something like $60 or more (per individual's record) depending on what sources you read,” Dunbrack said. “And then you get into the whole world of medical identity theft, so someone can receive care as someone else” using another's identification. That's “really insidious,” because the victim then has to unravel their now combined medical histories.
In writing about another health IT prediction in the report, Dunbrack said by 2018, “physicians will use cognitive solutions to identify the most effective treatment for 50% of complex cancer patients, resulting in a 10% reduction in mortality and 10% in cost.”