Sep 26, 2018

Health care data hacks are on the rise

Data: McCoy Jr. et al., 2018, "Temporal Trends and Characteristics of Reportable Health Data Breaches, 2010-2017"; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 175 million health care records have been breached since 2010, and they’re getting more vulnerable every year, according to a new analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

By the numbers: The total number of breaches is increasing — from 99 in 2010 to 344 in 2017. Doctors and hospitals are breached most frequently, but insurers’ breaches expose the most individual records.

Data breaches that affect more than 500 people have to be reported to the federal government. There have been more than 2,100 of them since 2010.

Between the lines: A handful of high-profile hacks against large insurance companies in 2015 seem to have been especially damaging.

  • The cumulative number of records exposed from doctors and hospitals has risen steadily every year. The total number that came from insurance companies, however, skyrocketed in 2015 — then leveled off.
  • Similarly, the total number of records exposed through hacking (as opposed to other types of breaches) jumped from about 3 million in 2014 to 115 million in 2015. It is still climbing.
  • 2015 saw several big health care hacks, including a historic breach of Anthem’s records.

Go deeper

Many Americans still can't afford medical expenses

Reproduced from Gallup; Note: ±4 percentage point margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

The latest poll from Gallup shows more Americans are putting off medical care because of the cost.

Why it matters: Despite a declining unemployment rate and growing GDP, an increasing number of Americans say they are forgoing often necessary medical procedures because of the cost.

Go deeperArrowJan 15, 2020

Drugmakers opt to mine medical data in lieu of lengthy clinical trials

Big drugmakers Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Amgen have submitted data-mining analyses of electronic medical records to the Food and Drug Administration to help expedite the approval of new or improved medicines, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: So far, parsing patient data instead of carrying out long clinical trials has cut costs and shortened drug-development times for breast cancer, bladder cancer and leukemia drugs.

Go deeperArrowDec 23, 2019

One Medical's IPO reveals growing reliance on hospitals

One Medical's clinics are an option for almost 400,000 people. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

One Medical has filed paperwork to go public, and the growing chain of physician offices has made it clear to prospective investors that large, dominant hospital systems are becoming a lot more crucial to its business.

The bottom line: "Our growth depends on maintaining existing, and developing new, strategic affiliations with health network partners," One Medical executives wrote in their IPO filing.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020