iStock_000012767009XSmallRecent data breaches have resulted in the possible theft of healthcare information from millions of patients. These breaches have brought to light the fact that hackers aren’t always targeting banking or credit card information. The breach of a healthcare system could give the hackers access to sensitive medical details, which should be protected under HIPAA.

Healthcare Attacks on the Rise

A survey by the Ponemon Institute showed that healthcare organizations are experiencing an increase in cyber attacks. In 2009, the reported attacks were at 20% of the polled healthcare organizations. In 2013, the reported attacks had increased to 40%.

Hackers know that there is profitability in gaining access to the health information of patients, and they have been looking for ways to gain access to the databases of various healthcare providers. In fact, health information can be sold on the black market for a premium, with a price tag of 10 or 20 times more than a credit card number. It might take several months, or even years, before a patient realizes that their medical information was stolen.

How to Protect Your Patient’s Information

If you are a healthcare provider, then it is important that you take a proactive approach to protect the information of each of your patients. The problem is that many healthcare providers are still using outdated computer systems, because they have been avoiding the process of transferring the data to an updated system. Failing to be proactive with your network security could result in potential costs due to lack of compliance with federal and state privacy laws.

The most effective way to make sure that your database is protected is to use an up-to-date computer system that utilizes specific security methods. Additionally, you should consider hiring a security specialist who will set up preventative measures to protect your website and database, and also monitor your system in case there is a potential breach.