In the digital age, it’s harder than ever before to make sure that your data is being properly protected.

From Facebook to credit card companies, it seems like daily there are fresh stories in the news about personal information being leaked to the wrong people. Sometimes that leak is intentional. Other times, it’s simple carelessness.

Unfortunately, new research published by Michigan State University suggests that there is a surprising perpetrator of a high number of data leaks: healthcare providers.

The study specifically focused on information that is categorized as “personal health information,” though as you know if you’ve ever spent an hour in a waiting room filling out paperwork, that data can include sensitive information like phone numbers, credit card information and Social Security numbers.

Researchers from Michigan State and John Hopkins University examined data breaches that occurred between 2009 and 2015. During that time, they found that the majority of health information data leaks were the direct result of healthcare providers and insurance companies, not hackers or any other external factor.

The total number of healthcare data leaks discovered in just that time period was 1,225. 53% of those leaks were due to either intentional or negligent acts in healthcare providers. 33% were attributed to theft, with hackers at fault for just 12%.

So how exactly does that much data get leaked?

Some of the ways this could happen would be healthcare employees forwarding patient information to personal devices, taking information home with them or sharing on unencrypted systems. Many of those instances impact a relatively small number of patients at individual hospitals.

When that kind of carelessness happens at a higher level however, the consequences are massive.

One such example is the Anthem, Inc data breach that occurred in 2015, an event which compromised the data of almost 79 million people and resulted in $115 million class action lawsuit payout plus a $16 million settlement with the government (the largest settlement of its kind in history).

Clearly, this carelessness with data is costly, both for the companies responsible, and for the patients who are compromised. Healthcare IT News keeps a list of the year’s healthcare data breaches, a list which reveals hundreds of thousands of patients put at risk in 2018 alone.

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your data is to cut out as many middlemen as possible. A more personalized approach to care that focuses on one quality primary care provider and direct communication between benefit providers and healthcare professionals, without involving big insurance companies, means that patients’ information will on far fewer screens.

This is exactly the kind of approach that Captiva can help your business take in providing care options for your employees. Contact us to learn more about how we can make care customized and secure!