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What to do After a Healthcare Data Breach

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What to do After a Healthcare Data Breach

Healthcare Data Breaches

A healthcare data breach can be devastating for patients and providers alike. Like most people, you must figure out what to do if your personal health information is compromised.

Below, we’ll discuss what healthcare data breaches are and what to do if your personal and sensitive information is compromised. If you have ever been in a data breach or healthcare data breach, contact Laukaitis Law today. We will help you navigate any potential legal issues from healthcare data breaches. Laukaitis Law knows consumer class actions. Learn more here.

Causes of Healthcare Data Breaches

Many healthcare data breaches result from human error.

For example, a nurse might mistakenly leave a chart out in the open, or someone might click a malicious link. Hackers can also access confidential data by breaking into computer systems or stealing laptops or digital devices.

Whatever the cause, it’s essential to understand that healthcare data breaches can have serious consequences. Patients may have to switch doctors, miss appointments, or even face identity theft.

That’s why it’s essential to be vigilant about protecting your data. Make sure your passwords are strong and original and be careful about what you share online. If you see anything suspicious, report it to your healthcare provider immediately.

What are the Costs of a Healthcare Data Breach?

You could be looking at some high costs regarding healthcare data breaches.

Businesses have to worry about notifying patients and the government about the breach. In addition, they have to worry about the cost of any forensic investigations, credit monitoring services for patients, and even PR and legal fees.

And that’s not even considering the cost of lost business or damage to the company’s reputation. A study by IBM found that the average price of a data breach is now $3.8 million

How to Report a Healthcare Data Breach

Suppose you think your protected health information is exposed in a healthcare data breach. In that case, you should immediately report it to your healthcare provider or plan. You can also seek legal action.

Laukaitis Law firm will help you navigate any potential legal issues arising from healthcare data breaches. We know consumer class actions.

Healthcare Security Regulations

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a set of regulations that govern the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI). Any organization that deals with PHI must comply with HIPAA.

Under HIPAA, PHI is any information about a person’s health that can be used to identify them. PHI includes things like medical records, test results, and billing information.

Organizations that must comply with HIPAA include hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and any other organization that deals with PHI.

If an organization fails to comply with HIPAA, it can be fined. The amount of the fine depends on the severity of the violation.

Who is Responsible for Healthcare Data Breaches?

Who is responsible for healthcare data breaches? The short answer is: it depends.

Various factors, including cyber attacks, employee errors, and third-party vendors, can cause healthcare data breaches. And when it comes to who is ultimately responsible for the violation, it depends on the circumstances.

For example, if a third-party vendor mishandles patient data, the healthcare organization may not be held responsible. However, suppose an employee of the healthcare organization makes a mistake that leads to a data breach. In that case, the organization may be held liable.

Ultimately, healthcare organizations need to have solid policies and procedures in place to prevent data breaches from happening in the first place. And if a breach does occur, they need to be prepared to take responsibility and take steps to mitigate the damage.

But overall, you need someone good at this to understand all this. At t Laukaitis Law, our attorneys will help you navigate any potential legal issues arising from healthcare data breaches. Laukaitis Law has experience in consumer class actions. Learn more here.

What are the Effects of Healthcare Data Breaches?

In short, a healthcare data breach can have far-reaching consequences. First, there’s the evident financial impact. A data breach can cost a healthcare organization much money to hire a security firm to clean up the mess and implement new security measures.

But there’s also the damage to reputation. Patients who lose trust in an organization are less likely to use its services. This can have a severe impact on a healthcare organization’s bottom line.

And then there are the regulatory consequences. Depending on the nature of the data breach, a healthcare organization could be fined by state or federal regulators. In some cases, a data breach could even lead to criminal charges.

Types of Healthcare Data Breaches

There are four main types of healthcare data breaches:

  • Hacking is when a cybercriminal gains access to a healthcare organization’s systems through malicious means, like using malware or social engineering techniques.
  • Insider Threat: This is when someone with legitimate access to an organization’s systems (like an employee, contractor, or vendor) misuses that access to commit fraud or theft.
  • Physical Theft is when physical devices like laptops, smartphones, and backup drives are stolen. If these devices contain unencrypted patient data, it’s considered a breach.
  • Accidental Disclosure: This is when patient data is accidentally shared with unauthorized individuals, like when an email containing protected health information (PHI) is sent to the wrong person.

Examples of past data breaches include:

HIPAA Breach at Advocate Health Care

In July 2017, Advocate Health Care, one of the largest healthcare systems in America, announced that they had experienced a data breach.

The breach impacted the personal information of 4 million patients, including their names, addresses, social security numbers, and dates of birth. Even more worrying is that this is far from the first time Advocate Health Care has had a data breach. It’s the fourth time they were compromised in the past few years.

Anthem Data Breach

One of the most high-profile healthcare data breaches in recent memory is the Anthem hack.

In February 2015, it was revealed that hackers had stolen the personal information of about 78.8 million people. This included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birthdates, and medical ID numbers.

The Anthem breach was particularly troubling because the stolen data could be used to create fake identities and steal people’s medical benefits. It also underscored the need for better security measures to protect patient data.

Unauthorized Access to UCLA Medical Records

In 2015, UCLA Health announced that four employees had inappropriately accessed the medical records of celebrity patients, including Britney Spears, Farrah Abraham, and Ashton Kutcher.

While an investigation found that no patients’ financial or medical information was mishandled or sold, the fact that employees could easily access celebrity patient records without authorization is a severe concern.

It’s not just famous people who are at risk when healthcare data breaches occur—anyone who has ever been a patient at a healthcare facility is at risk of exposing their personal information.

Healthcare data breaches can have far-reaching consequences, and it’s essential to be aware of their risks.

Hack of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services in North Carolina found that their data needed to be more secure. A hacker infiltrated their system and gained access to the personal information of nearly 4 million people. This included social security numbers, birthdates, and health information.

What made this breach so egregious was the fact that the hacker had been inside the system for nearly a year before they were discovered. They could download sensitive data undetected and even manage to alter some files. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the department waited two weeks after discovering the breach to notify those affected.

This is just one example of a healthcare data breach. Unfortunately, they are becoming more and more common. A study from 2017 showed that there had been a healthcare data breach in the US every day for that year.

So What can You do If You’ve Been Involved in a Data Breach?

Let Laukaitis Law Help You

At Laukaitis Law, we will help you navigate any potential legal issues arising from healthcare data breaches.

Filing a suit against a company engaged in a healthcare data breach can be difficult. An experienced healthcare data breach attorney can research the law, help you gather evidence, and build a strong case. You can also file a class action if others have been affected by the company’s healthcare data breach. Laukaitis Law is experienced in consumer class actions.

Contact us today free of charge!

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