Healthcare data breaches by the numbers: 9 stats

Data breaches are a massive threat to healthcare providers, as they cause delayed care, financial loss and an erosion of patient trust. Despite providers' efforts to implement security protocols, data breaches remain rampant across the industry. 

Here are nine statistics to know about healthcare data breaches:

  1. Healthcare is one of the most highly targeted industries for cyberattacks, with hospitals representing the victims of 30 percent of large data breaches.

  2. Nearly 50 million Americans had their protected health information breached in 2021, a threefold increase in three years.

  3. In 2021, the share of residents whose protected health information was exposed in a data breach was 10 percent or higher in 22 states.

  4. The number of reported healthcare breaches in 2021 increased by 19 percent. There were 905 reported in 2021 compared to 758 in 2020. 

  5. Midsize hospitals report that a cyberattack creates an average shutdown time of 10 hours that costs on average $45,700 per hour.

  6. Hacking accounted for 74 percent of all healthcare data breaches in 2021, up from 35 percent in 2016.

  7. About 5 percent of cyberattacks are motivated by fun. The motive for 91 percent of hackers is financially driven. Another 4 percent of attacks are motivated by espionage.

  8. More than 50 percent of the most commonly used internet-connected hospital devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

  9. A February HHS threat brief outlined 18 identifiers that "provide criminals with more information than any other breached record." They include Social Security numbers, health plan beneficiary numbers and biometric identifiers.

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