Larger hospitals may risk your medical record privacy

WASHINGTON — A new study suggests that your medical record privacy can be more at risk depending on the hospital and medical group you choose.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, when you choose a larger medical group or teaching hospital, the broad access to health information that allows for great medical care also makes the system more vulnerable to hackers.

In a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at data of nearly 1,800 large data breaches over the past seven years and found that larger hospitals are more vulnerable to hacking.

“Our findings underscore the critical need for increased data protection in the health care industry,” said associate professor Xuefeng “John” Jiang from Michigan State University, which aided in the study. “While the law requires health care professionals and systems to cross-share patient data, the more people who can access data, the less secure it is.”

In Maryland, the federal database on hospital record breeches has recorded about three dozen breaches that affected 500 people or more in the past seven years. Those include last year’s breach at Bon Secours Health System where someone accessed the servers, putting more than a half a million records at risk. Hackers also affected MedStar Health last year, encrypting the hospitals’ medical records and holding them for ransom.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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