Cyber-insecurity mounted in 2016 as a series of high-profile attacks signaled the dark side of the federal government’s huge push to provide every American with an electronic health record.
As of this year, 99% of U.S. acute-care hospitals have adopted an EHR system, compared with 12% in 2009. And according to HHS, the healthcare industry suffered a record 92 privacy breaches attributed to hacking in the first 11 months of 2016, up 64% from 2015.
Meanwhile, the government and the industry continued to struggle to make sure the data collected in EHRs flows freely among healthcare providers and is accessible to patients.
The federal government cajoled commitments out of top EHR vendors to collaborate on ensuring that patients and providers can swap information with their systems. The 21st Century Cures Act includes penalties of up to $1 million for vendors for “data-blocking”—when vendors and providers inhibit the movement of health information for commercial or competitive reasons. The legislation also authorizes HHS to penalize providers who engage in the practice.