UpGuard’s cyber risk team reveals how details of 40,000 patients have been exposed
Hackers are increasingly turning towards the healthcare industry. Patient identifiable data is increasingly valuable and is becoming an important topic for providers on a global scale.
The number of healthcare breaches is on the rise as a result of outdated, fragmented systems. The US saw the largest number of healthcare breaches in 2017, where up to 328 leaks (up to 60% of all leaks in 2017) costed the industry close to $1.2bn.
Such shocking figures do not include the many companies that have not disclosed the number of files affected or did not have access to that information, according to research Citrix ShareFile
The cyber risk team at UpGuard have recently revealed that a digital data repository containing records from a Long Island medical practice was left publicly accessible, revealing medical details and personal identifiable information of over 42,000 patients for up to two months.
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Originating from Cohen Bergman Klepper Romano Mds PC, a New York practice specialising in internal medicine and cardiovascular health, the details included patient names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers, insurance information, as well millions of extensive medical notes.
The breach related to a misconfiguration within present IT systems. Misconfigurations are an internal problem that are situated within the IT infrastructure of any enterprise – the problem is not solely related to hackers. “The problem is pervasive – Gartner has estimated anywhere from 70% to 99% of data breaches result not from external, concerted attacks, but from internal misconfiguration of the affected IT systems,” UpGuard explained.
Although the breach has been officially secured, it reinforces the urgency for healthcare providers to invest in resilient, advanced security protocols to secure patient data and to comply with all permitted health regulations.
Nonetheless, a 2018 Thales Data Threat Report, Healthcare Edition, has stated that only 30% of global healthcare organisations remain untouched by data breaches, highlighting that healthcare companies have a significant way to go in overhauling current healthcare systems to ensure all data is secured.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”