2 types of hospitals with the highest risk of data breaches

Teaching hospitals and facilities with high bed counts are most at risk for breaches, according to new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The lead author — Ge Bai, PhD, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore — worked with two co-authors to analyze HHS statistics on data breaches reported from late 2009 through 2016. They identified 216 hospitals that reported a total of 257 breaches, 15 percent of which were breached more than once.

Dr. Bai and her colleagues noticed the median number of beds for a breached facility was 262, compared to only 134 for hospitals that reported no data breaches. They also found 37 percent of the breached hospitals were teaching hospitals, while only 9 percent of non-breached hospitals had a major teaching mission.

"It is very challenging for hospitals to eliminate data breaches, since data access and sharing are crucial to improve the quality of care and advance research and education," Dr. Bai said. "More research is needed to identify effective and evidence-based data security practices to guide hospitals' risk management efforts."

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