A new US study warns that hospital stays may put the personal information of patients at the risk of being breached.
Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) in the US found nearly 1,800 occurrences of large data breaches in patient information over a seven-year period.
"Our findings underscore the critical need for increased data protection in the health care industry," said Xuefeng Jiang, MSU associate professor of accounting.
"While the law requires health care professionals and systems to cross-share patient data, the more people who can access data, the less secure it is," said Jiang.
The researchers examined US Department of Health and Human Services data for the period October 2009 to December 2016. They found that healthcare providers reported 1,225 of the 1,798 recorded breaches, while business associates, health plans and healthcare clearing houses reported the rest.
As many as 257 breaches were reported by 216 hospitals. 33 hospitals experienced more than one breach - many of which are large, major teaching hospitals, researchers said. The study was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.