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Research shows data breaches increase patient deaths

Apr 7, 2018 | Hospital Negligence

According to a recent study, a startling number of patient deaths are related to data breaches at medical facilities. While the focus on data breaches usually revolves around a hospital’s monetary loss, a data breach can in fact directly impact the health of patients in New York medical facilities.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management report that over 2,100 patient deaths per year can be attributed at least in part to data breaches at medical facilities. Even if the breach doesn’t directly alter medical records, the breach can greatly disrupt and delay treatment as hospitals deal with investigations and regulatory inquiry. Researchers reviewed 305 breaches from 2012 to 2016. During that four-year span, the breaches exposed a total of 14 million patient medical records.

The basis of the study was the comparison between care metrics at hospitals that experienced breaches and those that did not. The results showed that patients were 0.23 percent more likely to die after being admitted within one year of a breach and 0.36 percent more likely to die within two years. Some of these deaths were attributed to the fact that previous data breaches were likely to cause patients to wait longer to receive an electrocardiograph.

A data breach can disrupt and delay hospital staff, leading to an increase in the potential for medical malpractice. Patients who have been injured by medical malpractice may want to seek legal representation immediately. An attorney with experience in medical malpractice law may be able to help a victim recover damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.