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Record number of medical-record data hacks expected in 2015

iStock | Roman Antonov

iStock | Roman Antonov

Hearing about the numerous high-profile data hacks of 2014, including Home Depot and Target, we all know we need to watch our credit card statements for any indication of fraud. But, as many nurses have seen, our medical records may also be at risk.

MIT Technology Review reports that a record number of medical records were stolen last year, and that number is expected to rise this year. The article cites Carl Leonard, principal security analyst at Websense, as saying his company has observed a 600 percent increase in attacks on hospitals in the past 10 months.

The increased vulnerability is made possible by the fact that health records are being stored electronically, but Leonard says that what allows much of the information to be accessed is improper storage by hospitals. He says that the need for fast access to medical information often trumps the need for better security of the records.

The article goes on to say that while credit card information is less valuable on the black market now than it has been previously, medical records are desirable. This is largely because of the personal information contained in the records, including social security numbers and financial information.

Have you seen any data hacks at your workplace? Do you feel like electronic health records are safe? Let us know in the comments.

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