8,000 procedures cancelled since hospital hack

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File Photo Bluewater Health,

Eight thousand medical procedures have now been cancelled in Lambton and there is still no word when lab services will be back to normal in the wake of a cyber attack which crippled Bluewater Health.

The Oct.23 attack locked five southwestern Ontario hospitals out of their computers leading to surgeries, appointments and cancer treatment being delayed or cancelled.

Bluewater Health’s Sarnia and Petrolia locations were particularly hard hit with information from 267,000 patients dating back to 1992, being stolen and now being shopped around on the dark web.
The names, birth dates and personal information can be used for identity theft.

Another 20,000 people – mainly people with WSIB claims – had their social insurance numbers taken.
Since the attack, Bluewater Health and its IT provider, Transform Services, have been rebuilding the network.

Jan. 10, the hospital announced it would begin using Oracle Cerner, a hospital information system which is know as one of the most secure in the industry. Bluewater Health will be using a system which will allow health care professionals anywhere in southwestern Ontario to link into patient data.
Hospital officials say the system is “now recognized as one of the most advanced and secure” in the province.

Officials did not say how much the new system costs.

Meantime, officials say the deliberately slow rebuilding of the computer system continues to take its toll on the services provided.

Tara Young, communications business partner, in an email to The Independent says there is no change to patient care yet.

“Our focus at Bluewater Health remains on the restoration of our core clinical systems” she said.  
“Our diagnostic imaging department has had to cancel approximately 8,000 appointments to date. This number does not include referrals made since October 23, 2023,” says Young. 

“We don’t yet have a date for the return of walk-ins at the labs, but we will reach out when we have that date.”