Over 59 million patient records were breached in 2022 according to the Protenus Breach Barometer. Proteus, a healthcare compliance analytics company that protects patient data for major health systems, publishes the Protenus Breach Barometer annually to report on health data breaches. 

In 2022, the healthcare industry remained altered by the effects of the pandemic and The Great Resignation, resulting in nursing turnover, ongoing staffing shortages, increased remote and hybrid work, financial pressures, and increased “mega mergers.” As the report puts it, cybercriminals have long targeted healthcare’s vulnerabilities, and the continuing industry disruption created opportunities for exploitation. There were 956 reported health data breaches in 2022, up 5% from 905 reported in 2021, however the number of patient records breached increased 18% year over year to nearly 60 million.

The Breach Barometer also notes that insiders continue to be a risk, accounting for one in 10 healthcare data breaches. According to the report, insider behavior often gives outsiders a foothold for improper access to patient data and may have provided an entryway for the many hacking incidents behind the majority of 2022 breaches. Records breached by insider error alone skyrocketed 141% last year. 

Nick Culbertson, CEO and co-founder of Protenus, stressed the importance of reducing insider risk, “A preventive, proactive approach is the only way to mitigate the significant breach risk insiders pose. Healthcare organizations need to look at whether they’re truly able to monitor every access to patient data every day. The financial cost of a breach is staggering, but the reputational damage and impact on patient safety will have serious repercussions on affected healthcare organizations and their patients for years to come.”

Incidents included in the analyses for the report were compiled and analyzed by DataBreaches.net, with additional research and analyses by Protenus.

Protenus’ AI-driven patient privacy monitoring and drug diversion surveillance solutions help hospitals and health systems ensure health data is safe and being used appropriately.