The 1.5 million records were lost during 39 separate incidents nationwide.
The 1.5 million records were lost during 39 separate incidents nationwide.

A sharp spike in the number of health care data breaches was recorded in March with 39 incidents taking place compromising more than 1.5 million patient record.

Protenus' monthly Breach Barometer noted that this was more than 2.5 times the number that had taken place so far in 2017 with almost half of last month's total coming from a single incident where 697,800 records were exposed. Protenus could not determine whether this specifics incident so it was included in the theft/loss/missing category. Overall, the number of records assigned to this category was 737,131.

In February 206,151 records were compromised during 31 breach incidents.

Hackers were responsible for just 28 percent of the breaches in March, these did result in total of 600,270 records lost. This is up dramatically from February when only 10,107 records were lost due to cyberattacks.

Insider threats, both criminal and accidental, remained the primary portal through which the records were exposed.  Seventeen of the March incidents, covering 179,381 records, were due to insiders. Ten of these being the result of honest employee mistakes, resulting in 14,219 records lost, and the remaining seven being malicious in nature affecting 165,162 records.

Twenty different states had health care institutions that were impacted by breaches with Texas leading the pack with a total of six. Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana.

Protenus does not name the intuitions involved and gathers its data based on incidents either reported to HHS or disclosed in media or other sources.