Data breaches exposed 29 million US health records in 4 years

If there are any doubts left that health care data breaches are a major problem, the medical industry just put them to rest. Researchers have published a study showing that a whopping 29.1 million American health records were compromised between 2010 and 2013. Most of them (58 percent) were exposed through theft, but the rest were revealed through a mix of hacks and carelessness, including workers who gave unauthorized access or didn't properly get rid of info they no longer needed.

As you might imagine, providers aren't happy. An opinion piece accompanying the study argues that your personal health data is "not safe" despite the existence of rules meant to protect it, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. If both the government and companies don't put "much more focused attention" on keeping data secure, they argue, these incidents are only going to continue.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez]