Police investigating hospital hack

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No clear timeline when electronic services returning to hospitals in southwestern Ontario

The cyber attack on local hospitals, including Bluewater Health in Sarnia and Petrolia, which has disrupted hundreds of patient appointments, is now a criminal investigation.

And there is no clear timeline when hospital services will return to normal.

That according to TransForm Shared Services in a news release Friday.

Transform Shared Services is a non-profit organization which provides hospitals in Lambton, Chatham-Kent and the Windsor area with IT, accounting and supply chain services. The organization works with five hospitals, 12 community organizations and Ontario Health teams in the area. It has 10,000 electronic devices and handles over 1,000 patient related messages a day.

But since Oct. 23, hospitals and health care organizations have been dealing with a cyber attack which has affected patient appointments. Many have been cancelled because hospitals can’t access patient records. Those still receiving medical services are now registered with pen and paper instead of the usual electronic system.

TransForm said in the Friday news release it “continues to work around the clock to restore systems following a recent cyber security incident.

“Leading third-party cyber security experts have been engaged and we continue to investigate.

“We expect to have updates related to the restoration of our systems in the upcoming week.”

TransForm says the hospitals are continuing to contact patients directly before their scheduled appointments if it needs to be rescheduled. 

“We understand the impact this incident is having on members of our community, including patients and our employees and professional staff, and deeply apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. We want to thank everyone for their patience during this time.”

And the agency says it won’t be answering any questions about the cyber attack, because “we we have notified and engaged police as part of a criminal investigation.”