As cybercrime spreads across the digital landscape, the government is taking data breaches more seriously.
In early August, federal watchdogs announced a $5.55 million settlement in a data breach at one of the country’s largest hospitals, affecting some 4 million patient records.
But this case is by no means an isolated incident. Since the end of last year, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights garnered $16 million in settlements from five organizations.
Last year, Anthem reported 79 million patient records hacked, whereas Premera Blue Cross and Excellus Health Plan had 10 million customer records compromised.
In response, the OCR has stepped up enforcements of HIPAA, the 1996 law mandating patient privacy. Complaints have climbed steadily since 2012, which saw 9,407 resolved complaints. By 2014, the OCR had addressed 17,748 cases.
"It's accelerating," Bill Ho, CEO of Biscom, a provider of secure document delivery solutions, said. "We're going to see some big fines coming down the pike, for sure. This won't be the biggest for long."