Study Finds Healthcare Information Lost or Stolen from Nearly 5 Million Individuals During First Year of HITECH ACT

MIAMI - A study released today by Kaufman, Rossin & Co., one of the largest independent accounting firms in Florida, showed 4.9 million individuals had their personal health information (PHI) compromised as a result of 166 data breaches that occurred during the first year of the HITECH Act. Of these breaches, laptops were the greatest source, being involved in 43 different cases and affecting more than 1.5 million individuals.

In its study, Kaufman, Rossin reviewed and analyzed all breaches that occurred between September 21, 2009 and September 21, 2010. These dates mark the first year where breach incidents were publicly reported to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a provision created with the passing of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH Act). In addition to identifying type of breach and location, the study also highlights common vulnerabilities and risks and offers best practices for preventing reportable breaches. A FREE copy of the study is available at www.kaufmanrossin.com/whitepapers.

"There are so many various ways for data to be breached in this day and age and many businesses are not properly prepared or are completely unaware of just how vulnerable this information is," said Jorge Rey, the study's co-author and director of information security and compliance with Kaufman, Rossin. "Protecting the privacy of patients has always been a priority in the healthcare industry. The HITECH Act is changing the way PHI must be protected and those companies that are not serious about protecting their patients' information find themselves facing serious reputation, legal and financial repercussions."

Key findings:

  • Theft was the primary cause of a data breach, occurring 58% of the time; loss and other were tied in second at 14%
  • 20% of the breaches occurred at a business associate
  • Theft affected the highest number of individuals: 3,123,800
  • 32% of breaches were reported within first three months

• Laptops were both the greatest source of theft (40) and affected the most people (1,496,516) 

About Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
Kaufman, Rossin & Co. maintains offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and the Cayman Islands. The firm has represented Florida businesses for more than 48 years, and serves international clients in more than three dozen countries. It offers a complete array of traditional accounting services, as well as consulting services specially tailored to clients' needs. With more than 280 members, the firm is large enough to provide versatility, but able to render the personal service upon which its reputation is based. For more information, visit www.kaufmanrossin.com

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