Healthcare Data Breach Statistics
The HIPAA Journal has compiled healthcare data breach statistics from October 2009, when the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights first started publishing summaries of healthcare data breaches on its website. The healthcare data breach statistics below only include data breaches of 500 or more records that have been reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), as details of smaller breaches are not made public by OCR.
The breaches include closed cases and breaches that are still being investigated by OCR for potential HIPAA violations. 5,150 data breaches were reported to OCR between October 21, 2009, and December 31, 2022, 882 of which were showing as still under investigation at the end of 2022. The report will be updated monthly in 2023 to include the latest figures on data breaches and HIPAA enforcement actions. The data on which these healthcare data breach statistics have been calculated were obtained from the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights on March 20, 2023.
Our healthcare data breach statistics clearly show there has been an upward trend in data breaches over the past 14 years, with 2021 seeing more data breaches reported than any other year since records first started being published by OCR. There was a slight decrease in reported data breaches in 2022 – only the second time that there has been a year-over-year decrease in reported healthcare data breaches, although it is naturally too early to tell if this is a blip or the start of a trend that will see healthcare data breaches decline. Bookmark this page and check back regularly to get the latest healthcare data breach statistics and healthcare data breach trends.
There have been notable changes over the years in the main causes of breaches. The loss/theft of healthcare records and electronic protected health information dominated the breach reports between 2009 and 2015. The move to digital record keeping, more accurate tracking of electronic devices, and more widespread adoption of data encryption have been key in reducing these data breaches. Our healthcare data breach statistics show the main causes of healthcare data breaches are now hacking/IT incidents, with unauthorized access/disclosure incidents also commonplace. Hacking incidents increased significantly since 2015, as has the scale of data breaches, as shown in the charts below showing average and median data breach sizes. One trend that has continued in 2022 is an increase in the number of cyberattacks and data breaches at business associates, which suffered more data breaches in 2022 than any other type of HIPAA-regulated entity.
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Healthcare Data Breaches by Year
Between 2009 and 2022, 5,150 healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records have been reported to the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights. Those breaches have resulted in the exposure or impermissible disclosure of 382,262,109 healthcare records. That equates to more than 1.2x the population of the United States. In 2018, healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records were being reported at a rate of around 1 per day. Fast forward 5 years and the rate has more than doubled. In 2022, an average of 1.94 healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records were reported each day.
Healthcare Records Exposed by Year
There has been a general upward trend in the number of records exposed each year, with a massive increase in 2015. 2015 was the worst year in history for breached healthcare records with more than 112 million records exposed or impermissibly disclosed. 2015 was particularly bad due to three massive data breaches at health plans: Anthem Inc, Premera Blue Cross, and Excellus. The Anthem breach affected 78.8 million of its members, with the Premera Blue Cross and Excellus data breaches both affecting around 10 million+ individuals.
Average/Median Healthcare Data Breach Size by Year
Largest Healthcare Data Breaches (2009 – March 2023)
|Rank||Name of Covered Entity||Year||Covered Entity Type||Individuals Affected||Type of Breach|
|1||Anthem Inc.||2015||Health Plan||78,800,000||Hacking/IT Incident|
|2||American Medical Collection Agency||2019||Business Associate||26,059,725||Hacking/IT Incident|
|3||Premera Blue Cross||2015||Health Plan||11,000,000||Hacking/IT Incident|
|4||Excellus Health Plan, Inc.||2015||Health Plan||10,000,000||Hacking/IT Incident|
|5||Science Applications International Corporation (SA||2011||Business Associate||4,900,000||Loss|
|6||University of California, Los Angeles Health||2015||Healthcare Provider||4,500,000||Hacking/IT Incident|
|7||Community Health Systems Professional Services Corporations||2014||Business Associate||4,500,000||Hacking/IT Incident|
|8||Advocate Health and Hospitals Corporation, d/b/a Advocate Medical Group||2013||Healthcare Provider||4,029,530||Theft|
|9||OneTouchPoint||2022||Business Associate||4,112,892||Ransomware attack|
|10||Medical Informatics Engineering||2015||Business Associate||3,900,000||Hacking/IT Incident|
|11||Eye Care Leaders||2022||Business Associate||3,649,470||Hacking/IT Incident|
|12||Banner Health||2016||Healthcare Provider||3,620,000||Hacking/IT Incident|
|13||Florida Healthy Kids Corporation||2021||Health Plan||3,500,000||Hacking/IT Incident|
|14||Trinity Health||2020||Business Associate||3,320,726||Hacking/IT Incident|
|15||Newkirk Products, Inc.||2016||Business Associate||3,466,120||Hacking/IT Incident|
|16||Regal Medical Group (including Lakeside Medical Organization, A Medical Group, ADOC Acquisition Co., A Medical Group Inc. & Greater Covina Medical Group Inc)||2023||Healthcare Provider||3,300,638||Ransomware attack|
|17||20/20 Eye Care Network, Inc||2021||Business Associate||3,253,822||Hacking/IT Incident|
|18||Cerebral, Inc.||2023||Business Associate||3,179,835||Impermissible Disclosure (website tracking code)|
|19||Advocate Aurora Health||2022||Healthcare Provider||3,000,000||Impermissible Disclosure (website tracking code)|
|20||Dominion Dental Services, Inc., Dominion National Insurance Company, and Dominion Dental Services USA, Inc.||2019||Health Plan||2,964,778||Hacking/IT Incident|
|21||AccuDoc Solutions, Inc.||2018||Business Associate||2,652,537||Hacking/IT Incident|
|22||Forefront Dermatology, S.C.||2021||Healthcare Provider||2,413,553||Hacking/IT Incident|
|23||Connexin Software||2022||Business Associate||2,216,365||Hacking/IT Incident|
|24||21st Century Oncology||2016||Healthcare Provider||2,213,597||Hacking/IT Incident|
|25||Shields Healthcare Group||2022||Business Associate||2,000,000||Hacking/IT Incident|
|26||Xerox State Healthcare, LLC||2014||Business Associate||2,000,000||Unauthorized Access/Disclosure|
|27||Professional Finance Company||2022||Business Associate||1,918,941||Ransomware attack|
|29||Dental Care Alliance, LLC||2021||Business Associate||1,723,375||Hacking/IT Incident|
|30||GRM Information Management Services||2011||Business Associate||1,700,000||Theft|
|31||NEC Networks, LLC d/b/a CaptureRx||2021||Business Associate||1,656,569||Hacking/IT Incident|
|32||Baptist Medical Center and Resolute Health Hospital||2022||Healthcare Provider||1,608,549||Hacking/IT Incident|
|33||Inmediata Health Group, Corp.||2019||Healthcare Clearing House||1,565,338||Unauthorized Access/Disclosure|
|34||Eskenazi Health||2021||Healthcare Provider||1,515,918||Hacking/IT Incident|
|35||Community Health Network||2022||Healthcare Provider||1,500,000||Impermissible Disclosure (website tracking code)|
These figures are calculated based on the reporting entity. When a data breach occurs at a business associate, it may be reported by the business associate, or by each affected HIPAA-covered entity. For instance, in 2022, the electronic health record provider, Eye Care Leaders, suffered a ransomware attack. Each covered entity reported the breach separately. The HIPAA Journal has tracked the breach reports and at least 39 HIPAA-covered entities are known to have been affected, and the records of more than 3.09 million individuals were exposed. Similarly, a major data breach occurred at American Medical Collection Agency in 2019 that was reported by each covered entity, rather than AMCA. That breach affected more than 25 million individuals. Certain business associate data breaches will therefore not be accurately reflected in the above table.
Healthcare Hacking Incidents by Year
Our healthcare data breach statistics show hacking is now the leading cause of healthcare data breaches, although it should be noted that healthcare organizations are now much better at detecting hacking incidents. The low number of hacking/IT incidents in the earlier years could be partially due to the failure to detect hacking incidents and malware infections. Many of the hacking incidents between 2014-2018 occurred many months – and in some cases years – before they were detected.
Unauthorized Access/Disclosures by Year
As with hacking, healthcare organizations are getting better at detecting insider breaches and reporting those breaches to the Office for Civil Rights. These incidents consist of errors by employees, negligence, snooping on medical records, and data theft by malicious insiders. Better HIPAA and security awareness training along with the use of technologies for monitoring access to medical records are helping to reduce these data breaches.
Loss/Theft of PHI and Unencrypted ePHI by Year
Our healthcare data breach statistics show that HIPAA-covered entities and business associates have gotten significantly better at protecting healthcare records with administrative, physical, and technical controls such as encryption, although unencrypted laptops and other electronic devices are still being left unsecured in vehicles and locations accessible by the public. Many of these theft/loss incidents involve paper records, which can equally result in the exposure of large amounts of patient information.
Improper Disposal of PHI/ePHI by Year
HIPAA requires healthcare data, whether in physical or electronic form, to be permanently destroyed when no longer required. The improper disposal of PHI is a relatively infrequent breach cause and typically involves paper records that have not been sent for shredding or have been abandoned.
Healthcare Data Breaches by HIPAA-Regulated Entity Type
The table below shows the raw data from OCR of the data breaches by the entity reporting the breaches; however, this data does not tell the whole story, as data breaches occurring at business associates may be reported by the business associate or each affected covered entity. Many online reports that provide healthcare data breach statistics fail to accurately reflect where many data breaches are occurring.
Healthcare Data Breaches: Reporting Entity (2009 – Mar 2023)
|Year||Healthcare Provider||Health Plan||Business Associate||Healthcare Clearinghouse||Total|
The graphs below paint a more accurate picture of where healthcare data breaches are occurring, rather than the entities that have reported the data breaches, and clearly show the extent to which business associate data breaches have increased in recent years. In 2022, more data breaches occurred at business associates than at healthcare providers, and business associate data breaches affected the most individuals. These data highlight the importance of securing the supply chain, conducting due diligence on vendors before their products and services are used, and monitoring existing vendors for HIPAA Security Rule compliance and cybersecurity. In 2023, one of the biggest challenges in healthcare cybersecurity is securing the supply chain.
OCR Settlements and Fines for HIPAA Violations
The penalties for HIPAA violations can be severe. Multi-million-dollar fines are possible when violations have been allowed to persist for several years or when there is systemic non-compliance with the HIPAA Rules, making HIPAA compliance financially as well as ethically important.
The penalty structure for HIPAA violations is detailed in the infographic below. These figures are adjusted annually for inflation.
OCR Settlements and Fines Over the Years
Further information on HIPAA fines and settlements can be viewed on our HIPAA violation fines page, which details all HIPAA violation fines imposed by OCR since 2008. As the graph below shows, HIPAA enforcement activity has steadily increased over the past 14 years, with 2022 being a record year, with 222 penalties imposed. The major rise in HIPAA violation penalties in 2020 was largely due to a new enforcement initiative by OCR targeting non-compliance with the HIPAA Right of Access – the right of patients to access and obtain a copy of their healthcare data. 11 settlements were reached with healthcare providers in 2020 to resolve cases where patients were not given timely access to their medical records, and in 2021 all but two of the 14 penalties were for HIPAA Right of Access violations. As of March 2023, 43 penalties have been imposed to resolve HIPAA Right of Access violations.
How Much Has OCR Fined HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates?
In addition to an increase in fines and settlements, penalty amounts increased considerably between 2015 and 2018. In 2018, the largest ever financial penalty for HIPAA violations was paid by Anthem Inc to resolve potential violations of the HIPAA Security Rule that were discovered by OCR during the investigation of its 78.8 million record data breach in 2015. Anthem paid $16 million to settle the case. In 2020, Premera Blue Cross settled potential violations of the HIPAA Rules and paid a $6,850,000 penalty to resolve its 2015 data breach of the PHI of almost 10.5 million individuals, and in 2021 a $5,000,000 settlement was agreed upon with Excellus Health Plan to resolve HIPAA violations identified that contributed to its 2015 data breach of the PHI of almost 9.4 million individuals.
While large financial penalties are still imposed to resolve HIPAA violations, the trend has been for smaller penalties to be issued in recent years, with those penalties imposed on healthcare organizations of all sizes. It is no longer the case where smaller healthcare organizations escape HIPAA fines. In 2022, 55% of the financial penalties imposed by OCR were on small medical practices.
It was expected that 2018 would see fewer fines for HIPAA-covered entities than in the past two years due to HHS budget cuts, but that did not prove not to be the case. 2018 was a record-breaking year for HIPAA fines and settlements, beating the previous record of $23,505,300 set in 2016 by 22%. OCR received payments totaling $28,683,400 in 2018 from HIPAA-covered entities and business associates who had violated HIPAA Rules and 2020 saw a major increase in enforcement activity with 19 settlements. The number of financial penalties was reduced in 2021; however, 2022 has seen penalties increase, with 22 penalties announced by OCR, more than in any other year to date.
OCR Penalties for HIPAA Violations (2008 – Apr 2023)
|Year||Covered Entity||Amount||Penalty Type|
|2023||Life Hope Labs, LLC||$16,500||Settlement|
|2022||Health Specialists of Central Florida Inc||$20,000||Settlement|
|2022||New Vision Dental||$23,000||Settlement|
|2022||Great Expressions Dental Center of Georgia, P.C.||$80,000||Settlement|
|2022||Family Dental Care, P.C.||$30,000||Settlement|
|2022||B. Steven L. Hardy, D.D.S., LTD, dba Paradise Family Dental||$25,000||Settlement|
|2022||New England Dermatology and Laser Center||$300,640||Settlement|
|2022||ACPM Podiatry||$100,000||Civil Monetary Penalty|
|2022||Memorial Hermann Health System||$240,000||Settlement|
|2022||Southwest Surgical Associates||$65,000||Settlement|
|2022||Hillcrest Nursing and Rehabilitation||$55,000||Settlement|
|2022||Erie County Medical Center Corporation||$50,000||Settlement|
|2022||Fallbrook Family Health Center||$30,000||Settlement|
|2022||Associated Retina Specialists||$22,500||Settlement|
|2022||Coastal Ear, Nose, and Throat||$20,000||Settlement|
|2022||Lawrence Bell, Jr. D.D.S||$5,000||Settlement|
|2022||Danbury Psychiatric Consultants||$3,500||Settlement|
|2022||Oklahoma State University – Center for Health Sciences||$875,000||Settlement|
|2022||Jacob & Associates||$28,000||Settlement|
|2022||Dr. U. Phillip Igbinadolor, D.M.D. & Associates, P.A.||$50,000||Civil Monetary Penalty|
|2021||Advanced Spine & Pain Management||$32,150||Settlement|
|2021||Denver Retina Center||$30,000||Settlement|
|2021||Dr. Robert Glaser||$100,000||Civil Monetary Penalty|
|2021||Rainrock Treatment Center LLC (dba monte Nido Rainrock)||$160,000||Settlement|
|2021||Wake Health Medical Group||$10,000||Settlement|
|2021||Children’s Hospital & Medical Center||$80,000||Settlement|
|2021||The Diabetes, Endocrinology & Lipidology Center, Inc.||$5,000||Settlement|
|2021||AEON Clinical Laboratories (Peachstate)||$25,000||Settlement|
|2021||Village Plastic Surgery||$30,000||Settlement|
|2021||Excellus Health Plan||$5,100,000||Settlement|
|2020||Peter Wrobel, M.D., P.C., dba Elite Primary Care||$36,000||Settlement|
|2020||University of Cincinnati Medical Center||$65,000||Settlement|
|2020||Dr. Rajendra Bhayani||$15,000||Settlement|
|2020||Riverside Psychiatric Medical Group||$25,000||Settlement|
|2020||City of New Haven, CT||$202,400||Settlement|
|2020||Dignity Health, dba St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center||$160,000||Settlement|
|2020||Premera Blue Cross||$6,850,000||Settlement|
|2020||Athens Orthopedic Clinic PA||$1,500,000||Settlement|
|2020||Housing Works, Inc.||$38,000||Settlement|
|2020||All Inclusive Medical Services, Inc.||$15,000||Settlement|
|2020||Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services||$70,000||Settlement|
|2020||Wise Psychiatry, PC||$10,000||Settlement|
|2020||Lifespan Health System Affiliated Covered Entity||$1,040,000||Settlement|
|2020||Metropolitan Community Health Services dba Agape Health Services||$25,000||Settlement|
|2020||Steven A. Porter, M.D||$100,000||Settlement|
|2019||Jackson Health System||$2,154,000||Civil Monetary Penalty|
|2019||Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services||$1,600,000||Civil Monetary Penalty|
|2019||University of Rochester Medical Center||$3,000,000||Settlement|
|2019||Touchstone Medical imaging||$3,000,000||Settlement|
|2019||Medical Informatics Engineering||$100,000||Settlement|
|2019||Korunda Medical, LLC||$85,000||Settlement|
|2019||Bayfront Health St. Petersburg||$85,000||Settlement|
|2019||West Georgia Ambulance||$65,000||Settlement|
|2019||Elite Dental Associates||$10,000||Settlement|
|2018*||University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center||$4,348,000||Civil Monetary Penalty|
|2018||Fresenius Medical Care North America||$3,500,000||Settlement|
|2018||Massachusetts General Hospital||$515,000||Settlement|
|2018||Brigham and Women’s Hospital||$384,000||Settlement|
|2018||Boston Medical Center||$100,000||Settlement|
|2017||Children’s Medical Center of Dallas||$3,200,000||Civil Monetary Penalty|
|2017||Memorial Healthcare System||$5,500,000||Settlement|
|2017||Memorial Hermann Health System||$2,400,000||Settlement|
|2017||21st Century Oncology||$2,300,000||Settlement|
|2017||MAPFRE Life Insurance Company of Puerto Rico||$2,200,000||Settlement|
|2017||Metro Community Provider Network||$400,000||Settlement|
|2017||St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center Inc.||$387,000||Settlement|
|2017||The Center for Children’s Digestive Health||$31,000||Settlement|
|2016||Lincare, Inc.||$239,800||Civil Monetary Penalty|
|2016||Advocate Health Care Network||$5,550,000||Settlement|
|2016||Feinstein Institute for Medical Research||$3,900,000||Settlement|
|2016||University of Mississippi Medical Center||$2,750,000||Settlement|
|2016||Oregon Health & Science University||$2,700,000||Settlement|
|2016||New York Presbyterian Hospital||$2,200,000||Settlement|
|2016||St. Joseph Health||$2,140,500||Settlement|
|2016||North Memorial Health Care of Minnesota||$1,550,000||Settlement|
|2016||Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic, P.A. of North Carolina||$750,000||Settlement|
|2016||University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass)||$650,000||Settlement|
|2016||Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia||$650,000||Settlement|
|2016||Care New England Health System||$400,000||Settlement|
|2016||Complete P.T., Pool & Land Physical Therapy, Inc.||$25,000||Settlement|
|2015||Triple S Management Corporation||$3,500,000||Settlement|
|2015||Lahey Hospital and Medical Center||$850,000||Settlement|
|2015||University of Washington Medicine||$750,000||Settlement|
|2015||Cancer Care Group, P.C.||$750,000||Settlement|
|2015||St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center||$218,400||Settlement|
|2015||Cornell Prescription Pharmacy||$125,000||Settlement|
|2014||New York and Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University||$4,800,000||Settlement|
|2014||Concentra Health Services||$1,725,220||Settlement|
|2014||Parkview Health System, Inc.||$800,000||Settlement|
|2014||QCA Health Plan, Inc., of Arkansas||$250,000||Settlement|
|2014||Skagit County, Washington||$215,000||Settlement|
|2014||Anchorage Community Mental Health Services||$150,000||Settlement|
|2013||Affinity Health Plan, Inc.||$1,215,780||Settlement|
|2013||Idaho State University||$400,000||Settlement|
|2013||Shasta Regional Medical Center||$275,000||Settlement|
|2013||Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, P.C.||$150,000||Settlement|
|2012||Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Associates, Inc.||$1,500,000||Settlement|
|2012||Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee||$1,500,000||Settlement|
|2012||Phoenix Cardiac Surgery||$100,000||Settlement|
|2012||The Hospice of Northern Idaho||$50,000||Settlement|
|2011||Cignet Health of Prince George’s County||$4,300,000||Civil Monetary Penalty|
|2011||General Hospital Corp. & Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Inc.||$1,000,000||Settlement|
|2011||University of California at Los Angeles Health System||$865,500||Settlement|
|2010||Rite Aid Corporation||$1,000,000||Settlement|
|2010||Management Services Organization Washington Inc.||$35,000||Settlement|
|2009||CVS Pharmacy Inc.||$2,250,000||Settlement|
|2008||Providence Health & Services||$100,000||Settlement|
*In 2021, following an appeal, the civil monetary penalty imposed on the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center by the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights was vacated.
State Attorneys General HIPAA Fines and Other Financial Penalties for Healthcare Organizations
State attorneys general can bring actions against HIPAA-covered entities and their business associates for violations of the HIPAA Rules. Penalties range from $100 per HIPAA violation up to a maximum of $25,000 per violation category, per year.
Only a handful of U.S. states have imposed penalties for HIPAA violations; however, that changed in 2019 when many state Attorneys General started participating in multistate actions against HIPAA-covered entities and business associates that experienced major data breaches and were found not to be in compliance with the HIPAA Rules.
The penalties detailed below have been imposed by state attorneys general for HIPAA violations and violations of state laws. It is common for penalties to be imposed solely for violations of state laws, even though there are corresponding HIPAA violations.
Attorneys General HIPAA Fines (2008 – Apr 2023)
|2023||New York||Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy & Bach LLP||$200,000|
|2023||Pennsylvania & Ohio||DNA Diagnostics Center||$400,000|
|2022||Oregon & Utah||Avalon Healthcare||$200,000|
|2022||New York||EyeMed Vision Care||$600,000|
|2021||New Jersey||Regional Cancer Care Associates (Regional Cancer Care Associates LLC, RCCA MSO LLC, and RCCA MD LLC)||$425,000|
|2021||New Jersey||Regional Cancer Care Associates (Regional Cancer Care Associates LLC, RCCA MSO LLC, and RCCA MD LLC)||$425,000|
|2021||New Jersey||Diamond Institute for Infertility and Menopause||$495,000|
|2021||Multistate||American Medical Collection Agency||$21 million (suspended)|
|2020||Multistate||Anthem Inc.||$39.5 million|
|2020||California||Anthem Inc.||$8.7 million|
|2019||Multistate||Premera Blue Cross||$10,000,000|
|2019||Multistate||Medical Informatics Engineering||$900,000|
|2018||New Jersey||Best Transcription Medical||$200,000|
|2018||District of Columbia||Aetna||$175,000|
|2018||Massachusetts||UMass Memorial Medical Group / UMass Memorial Medical Center||$230,000|
|2018||New York||Arc of Erie County||$200,000|
|2018||New Jersey||Virtua Medical Group||$417,816|
|2017||California||Cottage Health System||$2,000,000|
|2017||Massachusetts||Multi-State Billing Services||$100,000|
|2017||New Jersey||Horizon Healthcare Services Inc.,||$1,100,000|
|2017||Vermont||SAManage USA, Inc.||$264,000|
|2017||New York||CoPilot Provider Support Services, Inc||$130,000|
|2015||New York||University of Rochester Medical Center||$15,000|
|2015||Connecticut||Hartford Hospital/ EMC Corporation||$90,000|
|2014||Massachusetts||Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island||$150,000|
|2014||Massachusetts||Boston Children’s Hospital||$40,000|
|2014||Massachusetts||Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center||$100,000|
|2012||Massachusetts||South Shore Hospital||$750,000|
|2011||Vermont||Health Net Inc.||$55,000|
|2010||Connecticut||Health Net Inc.||$250,000|
Federal Trade Commission Fines and Penalties 2023
In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a new rule that required vendors of personal health records and related entities to notify consumers following a breach involving unsecured information. The FTC Health Breach Notification Rule applies only to identifying health information that is not covered by HIPAA. The Rule does not apply to HIPAA-covered entities or business associates, which have reporting requirements per the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule.
The FTC issued a policy update in 2021 stating its intention to start actively enforcing compliance. Prior to 2023, no financial penalties had been imposed for breach notification failures but that changed in February 2023.
|Entity||Company Type||Penalty Type||Amount||Reason|
|GoodRx Holdings Inc.||Telemedicine platform provider||Settlement||$1,500,000||Failure to notify consumers about the impermissible disclosure of personal and health information to third parties such as Google and Facebook|
|BetterHelp Inc.||Online counseling service provider||Settlement||$7,800,000||Impermissible disclosure of personal and health information to third parties such as Google and Facebook|
Healthcare Data Breach Statistics FAQs
How does the number of data breaches in the healthcare sector compare with other sectors?
An analysis of data breaches recorded on the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse database between 2015 and 2019 showed that 76.59% of all recorded data breaches were in the healthcare sector. This implies the healthcare sector recorded three times as many data breaches as the education, finance, retail, and government sectors combined.
Why are there so many more data breaches in the healthcare sector than in other sectors?
Healthcare data is more valuable on the black market than financial data because financial data is shut down quickly before cybercriminals can make use of it, whereas healthcare data can be used to commit identity theft for much longer. Additionally, organizations in the healthcare sector tend to have larger databases – making them more attractive targets.
It is also the case that organizations in the healthcare sector have stricter breach notification requirements than in other sectors. Certain types of breaches (i.e., ransomware attacks) have to be reported even if it cannot be established data has been compromised. The increasing number of recent ransomware attacks may have influenced the healthcare data breach statistics.
Why has the average HIPAA penalty decreased since 2018 despite increases in the number of breaches and median breach size?
Since 2019, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been running a right of access initiative to clamp down on providers who fail to provide patients with access to their PHI within the thirty days allowed. Because penalties for right of access failures are less than for high-volume data breaches, this has resulted in a decrease in the average HIPAA penalty in recent years.
If a healthcare professional discloses PHI without authorization, is this included in the healthcare data breach statistics?
Because the healthcare data breach statistics are compiled from breaches involving 500 or more records, individual unauthorized disclosures of PHI are not included in the figures. However, if the unauthorized disclosure is investigated by OCR and found to be attributable to willful neglect, any subsequent fines will be included in the settlement statistics.
How can healthcare organizations mitigate data breaches?
There are multiple steps healthcare organizations can take to mitigate data breaches. The most effective step is to encrypt protected health information to render it unusable, unreadable, or indecipherable in the event of a ransomware attack. This will ensure data is not compromised and the attack will not have to be reported to the Office for Civil Rights.
Other steps include implementing two-factor authentication on privileged accounts to mitigate the consequences of credential theft, running checks on all storage volumes (cloud and on-premises) to ensure appropriate permissions are applied, checking network connections for unauthorized open ports, and eliminating Shadow IT environments developed as workarounds,
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