The integration of technology within the healthcare sector continues to create seismic changes in how individuals receive medical care. Yet in their rush to adopt technology designed to improve the consumer’s experience, organizations within the healthcare industry face the very real threat of sensitive patient data ending up in the hands of cybercriminals.
When it comes to the value of stolen data within the criminal underground, the more personal the better – and it does not come any more personal than protected health information (PHI) included in medical records. In the hands of criminals, PHI facilitates all types of crimes including prescription fraud, identity theft and the provision of medical care to a third party in the victim’s name.
Despite its compromised state, there is more value attached to healthcare-related data than other types of personally identifiable information. A stolen credit card, for example, has a finite life because once the customer discovers fraud they cancel the card. PHI, on the other hand, contains government-issued identity numbers such as national insurance numbers, as well as medical and prescription-related data that are permanent.
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