Top HIPAA Violations / Health Data Breaches of 2021
In 2021, the healthcare industry experienced some of the worst data breaches in history. These breaches exposed sensitive patient information and highlight the importance of implementing robust data security measures. According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights’ breach portal, there were 686 healthcare data breaches affecting 500 or more records in 2021. This number is expected to rise further and could exceed 700 data breaches. The total number of breached healthcare records in 2021 stands at 44,993,618, making it the second-worst year in terms of breached healthcare records.
The severity of these data breaches is further illustrated by the fact that there were 245 breaches of 10,000 or more records, 68 breaches affecting the healthcare data of 100,000 or more individuals, 25 breaches affecting more than half a million individuals, and 10 breaches affecting the personal and protected health information of more than 1 million individuals. Almost three-quarters of the year’s breaches (73.9%) were due to hacking or other IT incidents.
All of the data breaches that affected more than 1,000,000 individuals involved hacking incidents where unauthorized individuals gained access to healthcare networks where electronic healthcare data were stored.
These breaches highlight the need for healthcare organizations to prioritize data security and implement robust data security measures. By encrypting sensitive data, regularly backing up data, and training employees on best practices for cybersecurity, healthcare organizations can prevent data breaches and protect the sensitive patient information they handle.
2021 Biggest HIPAA Violations / Health Data Breaches
The year 2021 saw several major healthcare data breaches, which highlights the continued importance of protecting sensitive patient data. Here are some of the largest healthcare data breaches of 2021:
San Diego-based Scripps Health experienced a ransomware attack in May 2021, which led to the exposure of sensitive patient data. The attack affected the health records of approximately 150,000 patients, including names, dates of birth, addresses, and medical information.
Universal Health Services
Universal Health Services, one of the largest healthcare providers in the United States, experienced a cyberattack in February 2021. The attack affected the IT systems of more than 400 healthcare facilities across the U.S., leading to the exposure of sensitive patient data.
Community Health Systems
Community Health Systems, another major U.S. healthcare provider, experienced a data breach in January 2021. The breach affected the health records of more than 4.5 million patients, including names, addresses, and medical information.
Swope Health, a community health center based in Kansas City, experienced a ransomware attack in June 2021. The attack affected the health records of approximately 43,000 patients, including names, dates of birth, and medical information.
UCLA Health, a major academic medical center in California, experienced a data breach in February 2021. The breach affected the health records of more than 1.2 million patients, including names, addresses, and medical information.
These healthcare data breaches demonstrate the continued threat to sensitive patient data and the importance of implementing robust data security measures. Healthcare organizations must ensure that they follow best practices for data security, including encryption of sensitive data, regular data backups, and employee training on cybersecurity best practices.
By prioritizing data security and following best practices for HIPAA compliance, healthcare organizations can help prevent data breaches and protect sensitive patient information. Five Stars HIPAA Compliance team of experts has a deep understanding of HIPAA regulations and will work with you to ensure your organization is fully compliant. We offer comprehensive solutions that cover everything from risk assessments to staff training, and will provide ongoing support to ensure your compliance status is always up to date.