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Data breach remediation efforts and their implications for hospital quality

Objective: To estimate the relationship between breach remediation efforts and hospital care quality.

Data Sources: Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) public database on hospital data breaches and Medicare Compare's public data on hospital quality measures for 20122016.

Materials and Methods: Data breach data were merged with the Medicare Compare data for years 20122016, yielding a panel of 3025 hospitals with 14 297 unique hospitalyear observations.

Study Design: The relationship between breach remediation and hospital quality was estimated using a differenceindifferences regression. Hospital quality was measured by 30day acute myocardial infarction mortality rate and time from door to electrocardiogram.

Principal Findings: Hospital timetoelectrocardiogram increased as much as 2.7 minutes and 30day acute myocardial infarction mortality increased as much as 0.36 percentage points during the 3year window following a breach.

Conclusion: Breach remediation efforts were associated with deterioration in timeliness of care and patient outcomes. Thus, breached hospitals and HHS oversight should carefully evaluate remedial security initiatives to achieve better data security without negatively affecting patient outcomes.

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