Between 2010 and 2013, health plans and clinicians reported 949 breaches of protected health information that affected at least 500 people, most resulting from overt criminal activity, according to a study reported today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The number of breaches increased from 214 in 2010 to 265 in 2013, and involved more than 29 million records. About two-thirds of the breaches occurred via electronic media, such as laptop computers and portable electronic devices, and more than half occurred via theft. About 29% involved external vendors and the proportion due to hacking or unauthorized access/disclosure more than doubled over the period to 27%. “Given the rapid expansion in electronic health record deployment since 2012, as well as the expected increase in cloud-based services provided by vendors supporting predictive analytics, personal health records, health-related sensors and gene sequencing technology, the frequency and scope of electronic health care data breaches are likely to increase,” the authors said. “Strategies to mitigate the risk and effect of these data breaches will be essential to ensure the well-being of patients, clinicians and health care systems.”