Protenus, a company that’s developed an analytics platform intended to prevent data breaches and protect patient information, recently gained $3 million in funding from investors to advance research and product development.

Kaiser Permanente Ventures and F-Prime Capital Partners invested in Protenus in its series A funding.

Protenus collaborates with many healthcare systems and hospitals across the country, and is able to protect data for more than 44 million patients.

“This additional funding will help us explore the cost and benefits of different types of products built off of our analytics platform to understand what is most needed in healthcare and how we can help best,” says Nick Culbertson, the company’s CEO.

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Protenus uses artificial intelligence techniques to better understand workflows in the healthcare industry, and the approach enables it to distinguish inappropriate access to patient information.

“We build profiles on patients based on what kind of treatment they are receiving, and we build profiles based on human resources data to understand what type of employees are accessing patient data,” Culbertson says.

In 2016, over 27 million patient records were breached, as reported by the Protenus Breach Barometer, and so far this year, there has been an average of at least one health data breach a day, with 40 percent of them a result of insider access.

“We use system access logs to describe how certain types of employees are accessing (records of) certain types of patients throughout that care workflow process. In other words, we create the clinical workflow in a virtual environment and understand how employees are virtually passing medical records from one to another,” says Culbertson.

Protenus hopes to be able to use its platform to identify other anomalies in those workflows, enabling it to catch problems such as prescription abuse, fraud or other types of medical anomalies.

“We like to think of it [Protenus] as a tool to cause cultural reform, because a lot of people are doing things because they don’t realize it's illegal, and so when you are able to identify it early, educate them and remind them that they are abusing access to patient data, that is a chance to educate and prevent that in the future,” says Culbertson.

Nick Culbertson
Nick Culbertson

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Brookie Madison

Brookie Madison

Madison is an intern at Employee Benefit Adviser through the Dow Jones News Fund Business Reporting program. She is a recent graduate of Howard University where she majored in broadcast journalism, with a minor in psychology.