Nine out of 10 hospitals lost personal data in last two years

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Take out a quarter and flip it four times. It's unlikely the coin will land on heads (or tails) four times in a row -- a one-in-16 chance to be exact.

Yet tossing four consecutive heads or tails is a likelier outcome than being a hospital that hasn't been breached over the past two years.

That's the finding from a new study from the Ponemon Institute and security firm ID Experts, which surveyed 80 health care organizations and found that 94 percent had experienced a data-loss incident in the past two years. Another 45 percent sustained more than five breaches during that period.

According to the study, which was released this week, lost devices, worker- or third-party-induced errors, and hacker attackers were the most common reasons for the breaches.

Scaled out, the incidents cost the U.S. health care industry about $7 billion per year.

Larry Whiteside, CISO of Spectrum Health, a nonprofit health system in western Michigan, recently told SCMagazine.com that attackers are targeting health care organizations more frequently, as the value of patient data rises. Yet, many entities in the industry are slow to respond from a security perspective.

"In health care, we're still working toward where everyone is at," said.

Whiteside cited access control and risk frameworks as two big initiatives for his organization.

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