It’s no secret: healthcare security breaches are devastatingly expensive. Data shows that a single healthcare record cost over $380 in 2017, a slight increase from 2015’s price of $363.

But what does this price tag include? Let’s examine the key expenses of a healthcare security breach:

Damage Recovery

The amount of damage a breach inflicts on your organization’s professional image can be immeasurable. Many organizations will spend money on PR and recovery efforts to win back the trust of its patients, investors, employees, vendors, and other stakeholders. This might take the form of heavy advertising and marketing campaigns, paying for identity protection services, increased communications efforts, or other outreach to those affected by the breach.

Increased IT Costs

When a breach occurs, most organizations will spend whatever is necessary to ensure it never happens again. This can include a variety of costs, including data encryption, examining your network infrastructure, and even hiring an outside firm to conduct third-party investigations to locate security flaws. Your network and security practices should be thoroughly tested to ensure that flaws are fixed and can prevent repeat breaches.

Surprisingly, many organizations that have been the target of a breach or have otherwise mishandled data don’t fix the problem the first time. Data shows that of all privacy violations during Q2 in 2018, 30% of them were from repeat offenders. Failing to take a breach seriously only leads an organization to compound their risk, which can make them more likely to suffer a future fallout that could potentially be more costly than the initial breach.

Employee Training

After a data breach, it’s always a good idea to hold mandatory employee training on how to respond to and handle security issues and data collection. Healthcare security breaches are wakeup calls to many organizations and should leverage the opportunity to help employees learn the implications of poor data practices.

If you’re making changes to your healthcare data management that affects how your employees use and input data, you will also face costs associated with these changes. Software upgrades or investments, training and development, and a temporary decrease in productivity as these new practices are put into place each carries their own expenses.

What Is the True Cost of a Healthcare Data Breach?

The total cost of a breach may never be fully known, but most organizations can agree it’s an expense they’ll go to great lengths to avoid. The costs a breach can place on a healthcare organization may never be fully repaid in terms of public trust. The amount of revenue an organization loses through distrust may never be fully known or acknowledged.

The best defense against healthcare security breaches is to never become complacent. Remember that a data breach can happen to anyone, and remaining vigilant about your data handling practices and network security can help you build trust with those you serve and protect your company’s data. It’s an ongoing investment, sure, but the costs are minimal when compared with the expenses brought on by a single incident.

Is your healthcare data safe and secure? Learn how Lifepoint can help you create a secure health information exchange and give your patients healthcare they can trust.