Paper records most common source for data breaches in hospitals, study finds

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Paper and films within hospitals and health systems are the most frequent location for data breaches, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Researchers evaluated data breaches of 500 patients or more from 2009 to 2016 within the Office of Civil Rights, Health Information Management Systems Society and American Hospital Association Health IT Supplement databases.

Data breaches were analyzed based on hospital region, health system membership, size, type, biometric security use, health IT sophistication and ownership.

Results showed that hospitals account for around one-third of all data breaches. Additionally, hospital breaches affect the largest number of people.

Of the hospital data breaches evaluated, 65 were from paper and films. Network servers were the least common source of a data breach, but these breaches affect the most patients overall.

"Hospitals should conduct routine audits to allow them to see their vulnerabilities before a breach occurs. Additionally, information security systems should be implemented concurrently with health information technologies," the study authors concluded.

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