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Healthcare Data Breach Statistics

We have 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 as smaller breaches are not published by OCR. The breaches include closed cases and breaches still being investigated by OCR.

Our healthcare data breach statistics clearly show there has been an upward trend in data breaches over the past 9 years, with 2017 seeing more data breaches reported than any other year since records first started being published.

There have also 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, although better policies and procedures and the use of encryption has helped reduce these easily preventable breaches. Our healthcare data breach statistics show the main causes of healthcare data breaches is now hacking/IT incidents, with unauthorized access/disclosures also commonplace.

Healthcare Data Breaches by Year

Between 2009 and 2017 there have been 2,181 healthcare data breaches involving more than 500 records. Those breaches have resulted in the theft/exposure of 176,709,305 healthcare records. That equates to more than 50% of the population of the United States (54.25%). Healthcare data breaches are now being reported at a rate of more than one per day.

Healthcare data breaches 2019-2017

Healthcare Records Exposed by Year

While there has been a general upward trend in the number of records exposed each year, there was a massive improvement in 2017 – the best year since 2012 in terms of the number of records exposed. However, while breaches were smaller in 2017, it was a record breaking year in terms of the number of healthcare data breaches reported – 359 incidents.

Records Exposed in Healthcare data breaches

Average/Median Healthcare Data Breach Size by Year

Average Size of Healthcare Data Breaches

 

Median Size of Healthcare Data Breaches

 

Largest Healthcare Data Breaches (2009-2017)

Rank Year Entity Entity Type Records Exposed/Stolen Cause of Breach
1 2015 Anthem, Inc. Affiliated Covered Entity Health Plan 78800000 Hacking/IT Incident
2 2015 Premera Blue Cross Health Plan 11000000 Hacking/IT Incident
3 2015 Excellus Health Plan, Inc. Health Plan 10000000 Hacking/IT Incident
4 2011 Science Applications International Corporation Business Associate 4900000 Loss
5 2014 Community Health Systems Professional Services Corporation Business Associate 4500000 Theft
6 2015 University of California, Los Angeles Health Healthcare Provider 4500000 Hacking/IT Incident
7 2013 Advocate Medical Group Healthcare Provider 4029530 Theft
8 2015 Medical Informatics Engineering Business Associate 3900000 Hacking/IT Incident
9 2016 Banner Health Healthcare Provider 3620000 Hacking/IT Incident
10 2016 Newkirk Products, Inc. Business Associate 3466120 Hacking/IT Incident
11 2016 21st Century Oncology Healthcare Provider 2213597 Hacking/IT Incident
12 2014 Xerox State Healthcare, LLC Business Associate 2000000 Unauthorized Access/Disclosure
13 2011 IBM Business Associate 1900000 Unknown
14 2011 GRM Information Management Services Business Associate 1700000 Theft
15 2010 AvMed, Inc. Health Plan 1220000 Theft
16 2015 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Health Plan 1100000 Hacking/IT Incident
17 2014 Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services Health Plan 1062509 Hacking/IT Incident
18 2011 The Nemours Foundation Healthcare Provider 1055489 Loss
19 2010 BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc. Health Plan 1023209 Theft
20 2011 Sutter Medical Foundation Healthcare Provider 943434 Theft

Healthcare Hacking Incidents by Year

Our healthcare data breach statistics show hacking is now the leading cause of healthcare data breaches, although healthcare organizations are now much better at detecting breaches when they do occur. The low hacking/IT incidents in the earlier years is likely to be due, in part, to the failure to detected hacking incidents and malware infections quickly. Many of the hacking incidents in 2014-2017 occurred many months, and in come cases years, before they were detected.

Healthcare Data Breaches - Hacking

 

Records Exposed in Healthcare Data Breaches - Hacking

Unauthorized Access/Disclosures by Year

As with hacking, healthcare organizations are getting better at detecting internal breaches and also reporting those breaches to the Office for Civil Rights. While hacking is the main cause of breaches, unauthorized access/disclosure incidents are in close second.

Healthcare Data Breaches - unauthorized access/disclosures

 

records exposed in authorized access/disclosures

Loss/Theft of PHI and Unencrypted ePHI by Year

Our healthcare data breach statistics show HIPAA covered entities and business associates have got 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.

healthcare theft/loss data breaches

 

records exposed by healthcare theft/loss data breaches

Improper Disposal of PHI/ePHI by Year

healthcare data breaches - improper disposal incidents

 

records exposed in healthcare improper disposal incidents

 

Breaches by Entity Type

Year Provider Health Plan Business Associate Other Total
2009 14 1 3 0 18
2010 134 21 44 0 199
2011 137 20 42 1 200
2012 155 22 36 4 217
2013 199 18 56 5 278
2014 202 71 41 0 314
2015 196 62 11 0 269
2016 257 51 19 0 327
2017 288 52 19 0 359
Total 1582 318 271 10 2181

OCR Settlements and Fines for HIPAA Violations

The penalties for HIPAA violations can be severe with multi-million-dollar fines possible when violations have been allowed to persist for several years or when multiple violations of HIPAA Rules have been allowed to occur.

The penalty structure for HIPAA violations is detailed in the infographic below:

Penalty Structure for HIPAA Violations

OCR Settlements and Fines Over the Years

The data for the healthcare data breach statistics on fines and settlements can be viewed on our HIPAA violation fines page, which details all HIPAA violation fines issued by OCR between 2008 and 2018. As the graph below shows, there has been a steady increase in HIPAA enforcement over the past 9 years.

HIPAA Fines and Settlements 2008-2017

 

How Much Has OCR Fined HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates?

In addition to an increase in fines and settlements, the level of fines has increased substantially. Multi-million-dollar fines for HIPAA violations are now the norm.

HIPAA Fine and Settlement Amounts 2008-2017

 

average HIPAA Fines and Settlements 2008-2017

 

Median HIPAA Fines and Settlements 2008-2017

As the graphs above show, there has been a sizable increase in both the number of settlements and civil monetary penalties and the fine amounts in recent years. OCR’s budget has been cut so there are fewer resources to put into pursuing financial penalties in HIPAA violation cases. 2018 is likely to see fewer fines for HIPAA covered entities than the past two years, although settlement amounts are likely to remain high and even increase in 2018.OCR Director Roger Severino has indicated financial penalties are most likely to be pursued for particularly egregious HIPAA violations.

State Attorneys General HIPAA Fines and Other Financial Penalties for Healthcare Organizations

State attorneys general can issue fines ranging from $100 per HIPAA violation up to a maximum of $25,000 per violation category, per year.

Even when action is taken by state attorneys general over potential HIPAA violations, healthcare organizations are typically fined for violations of state laws. Only a handful of U.S. states have issued fines solely for HIPAA violations

Some of the major fines issued by state attorneys general for HIPAA violations and violations of state laws are listed below.

OCR Penalties for HIPAA Violations

Year State Covered Entity Amount Individuals affected Settlement/CMP Reason
2018 NY EmblemHealth $575,000 81,122 Settlement Mailing error
2018 NY Aetna $1,150,000 12,000 Settlement Mailing error
2017 CA Cottage Health System $2,000,000 More than 54,000 Settlement Failure to adequately protect medical records
2017 MA Multi-State Billing Services $100,000 2,600 Settlement Theft of unencrypted laptop containing PHI
2017 NJ Horizon Healthcare Services Inc., $1,100,000 3.7 million Settlement Loss of unencrypted laptop computers
2017 VT SAManage USA, Inc. $264,000 660 Settlement Spreadsheet indexed by search engines and PHI viewable
2017 NY CoPilot Provider Support Services, Inc $130,000 221,178 Settlement Delayed breach notification
2015 NY University of Rochester Medical Center $15,000 3,403 Settlement List of patients provided to nurse who took it to a new employer
2015 CT Hartford Hospital/ EMC Corporation $90,000 8,883 Settlement Theft of unencrypted laptop containing PHI
2014 MA Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island $150,000 12,000 Settlement Loss of backup tapes containing PHI
2014 MA Boston Children’s Hospital $40,000 2,159 Settlement Loss of laptop containing PHI
2014 MA Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center $100,000 3,796 Settlement Loss of laptop containing PHI
2013 MA Goldthwait Associates $140,000 67,000 Settlement Improper disposal
2012 MN Accretive Health $2,500,000 24,000 Settlement Mishandling of PHI
2012 MA South Shore Hospital $750,000 800,000 Settlement Loss of backup tapes containing PHI
2011 VT Health Net Inc. $55,000 1,500,000 Settlement Loss of unencrypted hard drive/delayed breach notifications
2011 IN WellPoint Inc. $100,000 32,000 Settlement Failure to report breach in a reasonable time frame
2010 CT Health Net Inc. $250,000 1,500,000 Settlement Loss of unencrypted hard drive/delayed breach notifications

Attorneys General HIPAA Fines

Year State Covered Entity Amount Individuals affected Settlement/CMP Reason
2018 NJ Virtua Medical Group $417,816 1,654 Settlement Server misconfiguration
2018 NY EmblemHealth $575,000 81,122 Settlement Mailing error
2018 NY Aetna $1,150,000 12,000 Settlement Mailing error
2017 CA Cottage Health System $2,000,000 More than 54,000 Settlement Failure to adequately protect medical records
2017 MA Multi-State Billing Services $100,000 2,600 Settlement Theft of unencrypted laptop containing PHI
2017 NJ Horizon Healthcare Services Inc., $1,100,000 3.7 million Settlement Loss of unencrypted laptop computers
2017 VT SAManage USA, Inc. $264,000 660 Settlement Spreadsheet indexed by search engines and PHI viewable
2017 NY CoPilot Provider Support Services, Inc $130,000 221,178 Settlement Delayed breach notification
2015 NY University of Rochester Medical Center $15,000 3,403 Settlement List of patients provided to nurse who took it to a new employer
2015 CT Hartford Hospital/ EMC Corporation $90,000 8,883 Settlement Theft of unencrypted laptop containing PHI
2014 MA Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island $150,000 12,000 Settlement Loss of backup tapes containing PHI
2014 MA Boston Children’s Hospital $40,000 2,159 Settlement Loss of laptop containing PHI
2014 MA Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center $100,000 3,796 Settlement Loss of laptop containing PHI
2013 MA Goldthwait Associates $140,000 67,000 Settlement Improper disposal
2012 MN Accretive Health $2,500,000 24,000 Settlement Mishandling of PHI
2012 MA South Shore Hospital $750,000 800,000 Settlement Loss of backup tapes containing PHI
2011 VT Health Net Inc. $55,000 1,500,000 Settlement Loss of unencrypted hard drive/delayed breach notifications
2011 IN WellPoint Inc. $100,000 32,000 Settlement Failure to report breach in a reasonable time frame
2010 CT Health Net Inc. $250,000 1,500,000 Settlement Loss of unencrypted hard drive/delayed breach notifications