2024 Best Practices to Protect Your Patient Data

Is your patient data secure from breaches and attacks?

At a Glance

  • 2023 Cybersecurity Challenges in Healthcare: The healthcare industry in 2023 experienced a surge in cybersecurity challenges, with 480 reported data breaches impacting 87 million patients and costing an average of $10.93 million per breach.
  • Types of Cybersecurity Threats: The primary cybersecurity threat was sophisticated ransomware attacks, which targeted healthcare network servers and exploited vulnerabilities with third-party business associates.
  • Strategic Imperatives for 2024: For 2024, the strategic focus includes implementing comprehensive cybersecurity measures such as regular audits, system updates, training, vendor management, and advanced security technologies, as embraced by BHS Connect to protect patient data.

In the saga of 2023, the healthcare industry found itself at a crossroads, besieged by an onslaught of data breaches more sophisticated and damaging than ever before. It was a year that would reshape our understanding of cybersecurity in healthcare, marked by a disturbing pivot in the tactics of digital adversaries. The move to target healthcare network servers and third-party business associates exposed vulnerabilities in our defenses, laying the groundwork for breaches that would affect a record number of individuals.

Key Facts from the Front Lines:

  • Total Number of Breaches: The year 2023 saw 480 healthcare data breaches reported, a chilling testament to the persistent threat.
  • Patients Affected: A staggering 87 million patients were caught in the crosshairs, a stark increase from the 37 million affected in the previous year.
  • Types of Attacks: Ransomware’s double-edged sword grew sharper, with attackers encrypting data and wielding the threat of exposure as leverage for extortion.
  • Financial Impact: The stakes climbed higher as the average cost per breach ballooned to $10.93 million, draining resources and trust.
  • Geographical Spread: The threat knew no borders, touching healthcare entities across 49 states, with California, New York, and Texas emerging as the epicenters of this crisis.

2024 Best Practices to Protect Your Patient Data.2

Making a Change

In this unfolding drama, 2024 beckons as a year of action — a call to fortify our digital battlements with a multi-faceted strategy designed to repel the advancing threat. So, let’s not just react to these trends; let’s get ahead of them. Here, then, are the top 10 strategic imperatives:

  1. Regular Security Audits: Treat these as opportunities for innovation, where each audit can reveal a chance to improve and strengthen our systems.
  2. System Updates: Prioritize updates as if they were continuous upgrades to patient care—essential and non-negotiable.
  3. Phishing Protection Training: Create a culture of curiosity and skepticism where employees are trained to question and report potential threats.
  4. Third-Party Vendor Management: Cultivate a network of trusted partners who are as committed to security as you are, making it a collective effort.
  5. Strong Encryption Practices: Encrypt data with the understanding that privacy is a right, not a privilege.
  6. AI-Driven Threat Detection: Adopt advanced threat detection as a forward-thinking approach, always staying ahead of potential threats.
  7. Multi-Factor Authentication: Implement MFA not as an obstacle but as an enhancement to the user experience of security.
  8. Regular Data Backups: View backups as a narrative of data integrity, ensuring it’s automatic, frequent, and encrypted. 
  9. Incident Response Planning: Plan responses as if writing a playbook for success, with each step a calculated move towards rapid recovery.
  10. Access Control: Treat access controls as you would a guest list for an exclusive event—meticulously managed and constantly reviewed.


These practices are not just recommendations; they are the standards by which we will safeguard our most precious asset — the trust of those we serve.

All the BHS Connect customers, partners, vendors, and community know that we take each one of these seriously and have incorporated these and a number of other protections. We understand that protecting patient data goes beyond technical measures; it’s about cultivating a culture of security and empowerment—about the moral imperative to safeguard the healthcare privacy of each one of the patients we serve.

The story of healthcare cybersecurity is still being written, and it is up to all of us to ensure the next chapter reaffirms our commitment to protection and resilience.