Health care records called particularly vulnerable to cyber crime
Health care and workers’ compensation data are remarkably susceptible to hacking, leaving some people open to a range of identity theft crimes, the law firm of Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Associates warned recently.
While the health care industry has lagged behind other industries for digitizing its records, the nature of health data also makes it more difficult to secure, the firm said.
"Security in health care has some unique challenges because we have to share data in order to save lives while also protecting patient information," Steven Smith, chief information officer at the Evanston-based NorthShore University HealthSystem, said. "If you think of a bank, your financial information is locked up and not shared. But we need to share our data with all doctors, nurses and outside payers, as well as with the patients themselves."
Health records and systems present unique challenges to cyber security experts, making them a potential target for online thieves: Health records typically contain an individual's insurance information, Social Security number, drivers license number and even credit card numbers.
The law firm said Illinois has experienced almost 100 health care security breaches since 2010, and it expects that number to increase.