Today, analytics and data play a critical role in a company’s success. Investors, companies, and individuals working in a business setting interact with data in some form or another. The data is essential for company forecasting and consumer behaviour analysis.
Companies retain vast data about their customers, especially in the healthcare sector. As a result, it assists them in improving their performance and positioning in a highly competitive market. This significant amount of data also leads to breaches, and the impacts of data breaches hamper the overall growth and efficiency of the organisation.
According to a Verizon Data Breach Investigations and Ponemon Institute survey, data breaches in healthcare are more common than in any other industry. In healthcare, two-thirds of the healthcare establishments experienced data breaches in 2019 alone – and the figures are only increasing.
What makes the healthcare industry so vulnerable?
According to research, medical records are ten times more potent than credit card details for hackers.
It is because of the sheer data volume available and the nature of the data accessible, which includes diagnosis codes, names, dates of birth, addresses, and billing information. Such information can be exploited or sold for profit by fabricating IDs for buying drugs or other medical equipment or fabricating insurance claims.
Furthermore, unlike credit cards, which users may terminate immediately on suspecting a fraud, medical identity theft can go unnoticed for much longer. It implies that hackers can exploit this data for a far more extended period than they could by using credit card details.
Impacts of Data Breaches
Here is a brief on all the impacts of data breaches on the healthcare sector:
The most severe risk of data breaches in healthcare is the financial impact it could have on the patients and the medical establishment. If a clinic or hospital gets hacked, they must immediately respond by removing threats from the systems, patching all vulnerabilities to prevent future problems, and spending as much more as required to restore the reputation.
All these tasks may be costly. According to recent estimates, a data breach may cost a medical enterprise £211 per exposed record, not including possible fines.
While a hospital may have funds to cover such expenses, its patients may not be so fortunate; thus, the hospital must protect them. All medical providers must implement regular audits and integrity controls to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to avoid cyber threats.
Since any data can be maliciously exploited, putting the patients in a horrible financial situation, appropriate safeguards are required.
It can be challenging for a patient to overcome unanticipated financial difficulties. They might need to employ a financial advisor to get out of these binds, thus spending more.
Risk to patients
Patients lose money and respect for the medical facility when they perceive that the hospital or medical facility isn’t looking out for them in every possible way. This breach of confidence impacts the financial line and the patient’s health. If patients learn that their preferred hospital was involved in a data breach, they may become more hesitant to seek treatment there and become sicker.
Besides casting doubt on the healthcare facility, hackers can directly influence the patients’ health by directing attacks, putting individuals in danger, etc., primarily by ransomware attacks. Mainly, this technique entails a hacker breaking into the healthcare system and installing malware to let them control the hospital’s system, including all its digital tools and devices. It thus prevents them from being used until the ransom gets paid.
For patients obtaining medical care, ransomware might create a hazardous situation. Imagine equipment malfunctioning during a life-saving operation or patients not receiving the exact drug dose at a critical moment. It’s a terrible concept that might endanger people and is another reason healthcare facilities must be highly vigilant about cybersecurity.
Healthcare and other industries are all concerned about data and cyber security. The number of data breaches has risen dramatically over the years and is projected to continue growing in the future years. Administrations can manage data breaches admirably with the proper procedures in place. Precautions and measures can be taken at several levels to combat the impacts of data breaches, from corporations to authorities and end-users to employees.