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US Health Systems To Lose $305 Billion Over Five Years Due To Cyberattacks, New Report Says

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Healthcare providers in the United States are set to lose lifetime revenues of up to $305 billion within the next five years because of cyberattacks, according to a recent study conducted by management and technology services firm Accenture.

In its report, The $300 Billion Attack: The Revenue Risk and Human Impact of Healthcare Provider Cyber Security Inaction, Accenture said that in the next five years, one in 13 patients, or roughly 25 million individuals, will have their personal information, including financial or social security records, stolen from different technology systems.

Kaveh Safavi, Accenture's healthcare business managing director, explained that what most healthcare providers fail to appreciate is that many individuals will be forced to cover their own financial loss because of the illegal access of medical information.

Safavi pointed out that if these healthcare firms are complacent in keeping their patients' personal information safe, they would be at risk of significant patient and revenue losses.

According to the U.S. health and human services department, close to 1.6 million Americans had their medical information illegally accessed from healthcare providers in 2014.

Compared to identity theft involved in illegal credit card use, where the card company is legally obligated to take responsibility for an account holder's losses beyond $50, medical identity theft victims often do not have automatic rights to have losses reimbursed.

The new report estimates that 25 percent of patients, or close to six million people, affected by breaches in healthcare-provider systems within the next five years will likely fall victim to medical identity theft as well.

Of the total number of affected individuals, one in six patients, or four million people, will be forced to cover out-of-pocket losses of about $56 billion in total within the same time period, according to Accenture.

The company said that proactively addressing cybersecurity issues can help healthcare providers prevent system breaches by as much as 53 percent. Accenture, however, pointed out that a significant discrepancy exists in how these healthcare firms are prepared enough to handle such inevitabilities.

"In the end, when a breach occurs, the goal is not to say 'what is our plan,' but, 'how is our plan working?'" Safavi added.

Photo: Juhan Sonin  | Flickr 

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