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Getting Serious About Health Data

Data breach-hole in lock

Getting Serious About Health Data

It’s a little ironic that the same week we shared reports about declining Health IT budgets in healthcare, there was a major data breach. Fierce Healthcare shared that “A data breach on the District of Columbia’s health insurance exchange exposed personal data on members of Congress, their families and employees, according to media reports.

DC Health Link confirmed to the Associated Press that it had been hit by the breach, and did not specify the number of customers impacted. The exchange offers plans to people living in the city and many legislators are enrolled in coverage through the platform.

House leadership disclosed the breach to their colleagues in an email obtained by Politico. The email from Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said the breach “compromised the personal information of numerous House Members, spouses, dependents and employees in both parties,” but did not specify which members of Congress were impacted, according to the article.”

Investing in data security is one of those tricky categories. No CTO ever gets a raise for investing heavily in security. They do get fired for breaches. This creates a tough set of incentives in both directions. Now that members of Congress are affected, it may get a little bit of attention…and we do mean a little. It’s certainly well past time that hospitals and payers invest to adequately preserve our personal health and payment data. Breaches have occurred regularly over the past few years and barely get a glancing mention in the news. In just the last few weeks alone, we have seen breaches in skilled nursing and revenue cycle management alone. The nature of these attacks is that they will get more problematic and more frequent…not the opposite. As with most problems, this presents opportunity for entrepreneurs who can bring fresh ideas to the table.