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230,954,151 US Medical Records Lost, Exposed or Stolen Between 2009-2019, Study by PrivacyAffairs Finds
[September 15, 2020]

230,954,151 US Medical Records Lost, Exposed or Stolen Between 2009-2019, Study by PrivacyAffairs Finds

NEW YORK, Sept. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Attacks on healthcare organizations between 2009 and 2019 have resulted in the majority of Americans falling victim to a data breach. Researchers at online privacy website collected details of the healthcare data breaches over the past decade for their Healthcare Data Breach Statistics study.

The study revealed the following worrying facts:

  • 3,054 data breaches of medical records
  • 230,954,151 medical records lost, stolen, or exposed
  • 70% of the U.S. population affected by healthcare data breaches

The researchers studied a number of data sets to analyze trends in healthcare data breaches and comment on where healthcare providers are failing to adequately protect individuals' private data.

Healthcare hacking incidents have grown steadily each year since 2009 and almost doubled between 2018 and 2019.

The incredible amount of compromised data affecting such a huge number of people is extremely worrying for cybersecurity professionals and has resulted in large fines being levied to the organizations holding the data.

Link to the full study:

Largest number of breached records in 2015

The worst year for the overall number of healthcare records exposed was 2015. This is primarily due to the Anthem Inc. data breach that exposed personally identifiable medical records of 28.8 million people.

Biggest healthcare data breaches of the decade

The researchers investigated the 10 biggest healthcare data breaches of the past decade. The table shows that the single largest breach affected more individuals than the remaining nine and that in those 10 breaches alone, more than 138 million Americans' private healthcare data was lost or stolen.


Individuals Affected


Anthem Inc.



Premera Blue Cross



Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings dba LabCorp



Excellus Health Plan, Inc.



Community Health Systems Professional Services Corporations



Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)



University of California, Los Angeles Health



Community Health Systems Professional Services Corporation



Advocate Health and Hospitals Corporation, d/b/a Advocate Medical Group



Medical Informatics Engineering



Cybersecurity needs to be baked into the fabric of healthcare systems 

PrivacyAffairs stated several reasons for the frequency of attacks targeting healthcare organizations.

"Hospitals, in particular, are extremely vulnerable to cyberattack due to many using outdated computer systems…"

"Due to the vast number of connected devices in hospitals, the logistical challenge for IT-teams is often too great for proper cybersecurity maintenance…"

"Medical staff needs to have access to patient data, but the additional training costs and time constraints often mean that the people who access the network are ill-equipped to keep it secure."

The general public needs to be aware of how prevalent healthcare data breaches are and take any steps they can to reduce their data footprint.

The Healthcare Data Breach Statistics research can be found at:

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SOURCE PrivacyAffairs

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