There were a staggering 4,774,165 patients affected by July’s 58 healthcare information breaches. The majority of these breaches were reported by healthcare providers, representing 65% of the total number of breaches for the month, and 71% of the total number of patients affected. And while it’s unsurprising, hacking incidents were the leading cause behind the month’s breaches, representing 72% of reported breaches, and 96% of patients affected by July’s breaches. Read more about 2021 July healthcare information breaches below.

Leading Cause Behind 2021 July Healthcare Breaches – Hacking

2021 July Healthcare Breaches

Hacking incidents have continually been the prime reason behind the escalating breaches targeting healthcare organizations. In fact, of the 4,774,165 patients victimized by healthcare breaches in July, 4,596,874 of them were related to hacking. There were 26 healthcare providers targeted by hacking incidents in July, affecting 3,200,815 patients, representing 69.63% patients affected by hacking. Nine business associates were targeted by hacking incidents, affecting 1,337,932 patients, representing 29.11% of patients affected by hacking. Seven health plans also reported hacking incidents, affecting 58,127 patients, representing 1.26% of patients affected by hacking.

Hacking incidents can occur in different “locations,” as the HHS refers to it. These “locations” include network server, email, electronic medical record, laptops, desktops, or a combination. 87.30% of patient information exposed by hacking occurred through a compromised network server, with 25 incidents exposing 4,012,855 patients. There were 15 email hacking incidents, affecting 499,283 patients, representing 10.86% of patients affected by hacking. There were two more incidents reported classified as “other” affecting 84,736 patients, representing 1.84% of patients affected by hacking.

Unauthorized Access or Disclosure of PHI

Unauthorized access or disclosure of protected health information (PHI) occurs when patient information is used or disclosed without cause. Under HIPAA regulations, PHI access must be limited and only authorized parties should have access. When PHI is accessed outside the norm, this is considered a HIPAA violation

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HIPAA Seal of Compliance

In July 2021, there were 13 incidents of unauthorized access or disclosure of PHI. Ten incidents