Since the breach notification rule became effective two and a half years ago, the HHS Office for Civil Rights has logged more than 31,000 breaches of protected health information.

Of those, 500 breaches have been "major"-each affecting at least 500 individuals-with several affecting more than 1 million. The major breaches have generally occurred outside a health care facility's walls and resulted from a laptop or backup tapes being lost or stolen, or a hard drive or paper records improperly disposed.

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