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Impact of Data Breach in Healthcare

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Introduction

The recent past has seen a spike in the incidents related to data breach in many institutions including the healthcare industry. Most of these have been blamed on the inadequacy of institutions in protecting patient’s data or not viewing this security as a priority. This has led to many negative impacts with the most visible and immediate one being financial loss. When criminals are able to access these systems, they can steal financial data both from the institution and from the individual patients. Statistical data estimates that the healthcare industry loses $5.6 billion yearly from such attacks (Akpan, 2016). This amount incorporates the monetary settlements that the institutions have to pay to the victims of data breach, cost of restoring patient data, and direct damages that the attackers may cause. The healthcare institutions also encounter losses in the form of lost customer loyalty. Of all the effects to a healthcare institution, loss of reputation has the most impact and requires a lot of investment to regain the trust especially with regard to information infrastructure to convince the customers to use their services again. At times, it may never be recovered, which means that the organization can become bankrupt and cease operations entirely. While monetary loss could be devastating, privacy impacts are much worse. The attackers can use the information stolen for certain purposes like identity theft, which takes a long time to restore and making haphazard online purchases causing much financial loss to the customers. In addition, the information stolen exposes the patients to people that can harm them since it incorporates all types of confidential patient data that can be manipulated.

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1. Akpan, N. (2016). Has health care hacking become an epidemic? Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/has-health-care-hacking-become-an-epidemic

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