Advertising Expenditures Increase 64% Following a Healthcare Data Breach

A recent study has explored the relationship between advertising expenditures and healthcare data breaches. The study shows hospitals significantly increase advertising spending following a data breach.

Healthcare Data Breaches Are the Costliest to Mitigate

Healthcare data breaches are the most expensive to mitigate, far higher than breaches in other industry sectors. According to the Ponemon Institute/IBM Security’s 2018 cost of a data breach study, healthcare data breaches cost, on average, $408 per lost or stolen record. The costs are double, or in some cases almost triple, those in other industry sectors.

Healthcare data breaches are the most expensive to mitigate, far higher than breaches in other industry sectors. Click To Tweet

In addition to the high costs of mitigating the breaches, the same study confirmed that loss of patients to competitors is a very real threat. Data breaches cause damage to a brand and trust in an organization can be easily lost when confidential personal information is exposed or stolen.

The Ponemon Institute study revealed healthcare organizations have a high churn rate after a breach. At 6.7%, it is higher than the financial sector (6.1%), services (5.2%), energy (3.0%) and education (2.7%).

Hospitals’ Advertising Expenditure Increases 64% Following a Data Breach

In a recent study, Sung J. Choi, PhD and M. Eric Johnson, PhD., investigated how advertising expenditures at hospitals changed following a data breach.

The study, which was recently published in the American Journal of Managed Care, revealed hospitals increase advertising spending by an average of 64% in the year following a data breach. Advertising expenditures were found to be 79% higher over the two-year period following a data breach.

The researchers note that breached hospitals were most likely to be large or teaching hospitals located in urban settings. Hospitals that experienced data breaches had an average of 566 beds and were typically located in areas where there were other hospitals and, consequently, high competition for patients.

Hospitals in the control group that had not experienced a data breach spent an average of £238,000 on advertising each year, whereas hospitals that experienced data breaches spent an average of $817,205 on advertising in the year following a breach – Almost three times as much as the control group. An average of $1.75 million was spend on advertising in the two years following a breach.

The researchers suggest that the increase in spending is an attempt to minimize patient loss to competitors and to help repair hospitals’ reputations.

The researchers note that the data from the study came from 2011-2014 before ransomware attacks on hospitals became common. Given how much more these types of data breaches disrupt medical services provided by hospitals, advertising spending may be even higher following these types of breaches.

“Advertising and the efforts to fix the damages from a data breach increase healthcare costs and may divert resources and attention away from initiatives to improve care quality,” wrote the researchers. “Advertising costs subsequent to a breach are another cost to the healthcare system that could be avoided with better data security.”

Author: Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.