The Medical Futureist has a great overview and analysis of digital privacy in healthcare, with special emphasis on cybersecurity and ransomware. This section in particular caught our attention:
Medical data is the new credit card number
While on the one hand, healthcare is getting democratized through digital health, meaning we have a chance to live longer and healthier with the use of disruptive technologies, on the other hand, we are paying for it partly with our data. Istvan Lam, Founder and CEO of Tresorit, Hungarian data privacy company reminded me of forecasts, according to which healthcare is going to be the most targeted sector of hackers in 2017, as medical information is worth 10 times more than your credit card number on the dark web.
And before you ask, why anyone’s chest X-ray would be of any interest to anyone else, I assure you – it’s not the black-and-white artistic image of your lungs. It is the patient data, with which criminals could create fake identification documents to buy drugs, medicine or medical equipment, or combine a patient number with a false provider number and file fictional claims with insurance companies.
The bold emphasis is ours. Nobody is interested in the patient’s x-rays or dialysis charts. Instead, it’s their PHI. Just like a consumer’s credit card data could be used to steal the victim’s identity, personal health information could be used to impersonate the patient and commit fraud in their name.