Data Breaches Drive Patients Away: Study

These days, it might seem like every other headline is about a large-scale health care data breach. Indeed, a recent Accenture study found that 26 percent of Americans have had their data breached. And it’s only been a few weeks since the “WannaCry” ransomware attack caused chaos around the world, including for health care organizations. So perhaps it’s not surprising that patients are taking these things into consideration when choosing health care providers. As Healthcare IT News first reported, 68 percent of respondents to a post-WannaCry study from security vendor Carbon Black stated that they’d consider leaving a health care provider who experienced a compromising ransomware attack.

The study of 5,000 people, which was conducted via survey, demonstrated a growing concern about potential cyberattacks. “The fact that nearly 70 percent of consumers said they would consider leaving their current healthcare provider is a startling statistic,” Mike Viscuso, Carbon Black’s co-founder and chief technology officer, told Healthcare IT News. However, respondents also reported a relatively high degree of confidence in their health care providers to protect their personal information, with about seven in 10 saying they trusted health care organizations to do so. “Consumers put a high level of trust in their healthcare providers to keep their financial information and healthcare records safe,” explained Viscuso. “When that data is compromised it erodes confidence and trust.” At the same time, they believe that business should shoulder the responsibility of protecting patient data, more so than cybersecurity companies, software companies, and government organizations.

Also noteworthy: More than half of the Carbon Black survey respondents were unfamiliar with ransomware before WannaCry made headlines, despite ransomware not being a new phenomenon. A similar number (52 percent) would be willing to pay for the safe return of their data, should they find themselves the target of an attacker, though most indicated that they’d pay less than $500. Above all, in Viscuso’s view, the recent cyberattacks should serve as a warning to health care organizations to prioritize cybersecurity—a sentiment that many have echoed in recent months. “Health care providers should take the WannaCry attacks as a clarion call to invest in their security people, processes and technologies and keep patients’ data security as seriously as their health,” he told Healthcare IT News.

Click here for the article from Healthcare IT News on the Carbon Black study.

Click here for the study results from Carbon Black. 


Leave a Reply