The health care industry is comprised of hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, health insurance companies and more. In the United States, for example, some 600,000 establishments make up the this industry, mostly the offices of practitioners. Hospitals comprise about 1 percent of all of the health care entities, but employ roughly 35 percent of workers.
More and more, each of these organizations deals with sensitive digital patient data, which can range from names and Social Security numbers to fingerprints and patients’ conditions to diagnoses. According to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), “covered entities” and their business associates must safeguard this data, which is known in the law as electronic protected health information (ePHI).