Health IT Roundup—Healthcare breach costs outpace all other industries; Digital health funding hits $4.9B globally

Security lock on computer data
Data breaches cost healthcare organizations twice as much as banks. (Getty/gintas77)

Healthcare breaches come with a hefty price tag

Healthcare organizations that suffer a data breach pay more than $400 for each lost or stolen record, according to a survey.

That’s nearly twice as much as the next-highest industry, finance, and almost four times as much as the retail industry.

The global survey conducted by IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute included in-depth interviews with nearly 500 companies across a range of sectors that experienced a breach. According to the results, healthcare companies pay $408 per lost or stolen record compared to $206 per record in the financial industry and $174 per record among pharmaceutical manufacturers.

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The average breach across all industries costs $3.86 million, a 6.4% increase from last year. (Survey)

OIG adds cybersecurity to work plan

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) plans to perform a series of audits looking at the cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Secretary and other operating divisions.

The report is expected to be released next year. (OIG Work Plan)

Venture capitalists sink $4.9B into digital health globally

Global venture capital funding for digital health and health IT companies increased 22% in the first half of 2018, reaching a record $4.9 billion, according to Mercom Capital Group.

Healthcare practice-focused companies took in $702 million in the second quarter of 2018, while consumer-centric companies raise $1.7 billion. The group tracked deals across 22 countries, but the United States recorded the most funding at $1.7 billion and the most deals at 109.

“The space is maturing and is beginning to get the regulatory attention it deserves,” Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group said in a statement. “Simultaneously, the tech giants are boosting digital health in a big way. M&A activity was also up, and overall, it was a very robust first half of 2018 for digital health companies.” (Report)

FDA warns about fake letters targeting consumers of online medications

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers that criminals are forging FDA warning letters as a part of an international extortion scam. The letters are targeting consumers that purchased medications online.

“Consumers who aren’t involved in manufacturing or distributing FDA regulated products should be on alert that if you get an FDA warning letter, it’s probably fake, and probably a scam,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in a statement. “We know the confusion and concern that these fake warning letters may cause and want to assure consumers that we generally don’t take action against individuals for purchasing a medicine online, though we regularly take action against the owners and operators of illegal websites.”

Gottlieb added that consumers who buy medications through illegal online pharmacies may be putting their health at risk by purchasing counterfeit or contaminated medications. Most illegal pharmacies also lack the safeguards to protect user information, putting consumers at risk of being harassed by phone calls or emails. (Announcement)

ONC’s John Fleming tapped for commerce position

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is poised to lose another senior official.

John Fleming, M.D., currently ONC’s deputy assistant secretary for health technology reform, was tapped last month by President Donald Trump as assistant secretary of commerce for economic development. A nomination hearing is scheduled for Thursday before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Last week, ONC’s Genevieve Morris was detailed to the Department of Veterans Affairs to work on the agency’s EHR overhaul. (Hearing)

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