37 health breaches reported in May, some took 3+ years to discover: 6 things to know

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In May, health data breaches were disclosed at a rate of one or more per day, according to a Protenus report. These findings were consistent with those the organization reported last year.

"It’s not a matter of 'if' a healthcare organization will experience a data breach, but simply a matter of 'when'," the report states.

The report, part of the "Protenus Breach Barometer" monthly series, analyzed healthcare breaches reported to HHS or disclosed to the media during May 2017, based on data compiled by databreaches.net.

Here are six things to know.

1. There were 37 breach incidents in the month of May affecting more than 255,108 individuals.

2. The largest single breach in May affected 142,000 patients, whose records were dumped by the hacker TheDarkOverLord.

3. Eighty-one percent of May's health data breaches were reported by healthcare providers, as opposed to health plans (8 percent) or third-party vendors (11 percent).

4. Eighty-three percent of the breaches were reported to HHS within the required 60 day reporting period. On average, organizations reported a breach within 59 days.

5. Three organizations took three or more years to discover a breach. Overall, it took organizations an average of 441 days to discover a breach, compared to April's average breach-to-discovery period of 51 days.

6. The two main causes of breaches in May were insiders (40.54 percent) and hacking (35.14 percent).

"A lot of damage can be done when a breach goes for several years without detection, providing additional time for the information to be disseminated or time for malicious insiders to continue their activities. It is imperative that healthcare organizations educate themselves on what they can do to reduce their risk and detect breaches as soon as they occur," the report reads.

Click here to view the full report.

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