Guest Post: Patient data breaches doubled, reaching 87M in 2023

Healthcare companies are increasingly falling victim to sophisticated hacking efforts, insider threats, and basic security flaws despite the highly confidential nature of patient data.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 87 million patients in the United States had their information breached in 2023. That is more than twice as much as last year when 37 million people had their data exposed.

In 2022, over 37 million patients in the U.S. had their personal information exposed by healthcare organizations. However, breaches have skyrocketed this year. Just in the first half of 2023, hackers stole the data of over 41 million people. The third quarter marked an even greater cause for alarm, with 45 million more patients impacted. 

Overall, there have already been 480 reported data breaches across the healthcare sector in the first three quarters of 2023 alone. This compares to only 373 total breaches during the entirety of 2022, highlighting the alarming acceleration in attacks. 

The largest data incident so far was the HCA Healthcare breach, which impacted 11 million people.

Cybersecurity writer at Atlas VPN, Vilius Kardelis, shares his thoughts on data breaches in healthcare organizations:

“The sensitive nature of medical records makes them highly desirable targets for criminals, thus demanding the strongest security standards. Patients deserve to know their most personal information is safe, and providers must ensure that confidence. Healthcare has to view data protection as being just as critical as patient care.”

Most vulnerable states

While healthcare data breaches impact patients nationwide, analysis shows certain states have been affected more than others.

California tops the list with 43 healthcare organizations afflicted by data breaches so far this year. The state’s massive population and concentration of healthcare providers likely make California a prime target.

New York comes in second, with 42 healthcare data breaches reported. Texas is third, with 38 healthcare entities experiencing breaches. Other states near the top include Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, with 31 and 30 breaches, respectively.

Interestingly, Vermont remains the only state with no reported healthcare breaches in 2023.

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