The number of major breaches of protected health information occurring in 2012 increased by more than 21 percent compared with the previous year, but there was a 77 percent decrease in the number of affected patients. And breaches by business associates historically affect five times more patient records than breaches at covered entities.

Those are just some of many good nuggets of information in the 3rd  Breach Report/Protected Health Information from security testing and auditing firm Redspin Inc. Since August 2009, for instance, 538 breaches each affecting at least 500 patients have been reported to the HHS Office for Civil Rights, and the breaches total 21.4 million patient records. Other stats from 2012: two-thirds of major breaches result from theft or loss, 38 percent of breaches come from unencrypted laptops and other portable devices, and 57 percent involve a business associate.

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