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Ascension health care workers struggle after cyberattack

I’M TIMING OUT NUMEROUS ROUNDS. HACKERS TARGETING ASCENSION HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS. WORKERS SAY IT HAS A DEVASTATING IMPACT ON PATIENT CARE. PATIENTS TELL 12 NEWS IT’S AFFECTING THEIR ACCESS TO CARE. TONIGHT. 12 NEWS EMILY POFAHL IS LEADING US OFF WITH THE CYBER ATTACK FALLOUT. ASCENSION HEALTH CARE ANNOUNCING HACKERS TARGETED ITS NETWORK WEDNESDAY. A CYBERATTACK CRIPPLING CRITICAL SYSTEMS NATIONWIDE. WE’RE WE’RE BACK TO THE DOCUMENTATION METHODS THAT WE MOVED AWAY FROM 20 YEARS AGO. HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AT SAINT FRANCIS HOSPITAL SAY THEY CAN’T ACCESS PATIENTS MEDICAL HISTORY. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHO THOSE PATIENTS WERE OR WHEN THEY’D BE SHOWING UP OR WHAT THEIR ORDERS WERE FOR, BECAUSE WE HAD NO ACCESS TO ANY OF THAT INFORMATION. THEY SAY IT HAS A DIRECT IMPACT ON PATIENT CARE. IF YOU’RE COMING IN IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION, THEY WANT TO COMPARE EKGS, SURGICAL TECHNICIAN CONNIE SMITH SAYS RIGHT NOW, NURSES CAN’T COMPARE OLD AND NEW SCANS TO SEE IF A PATIENT’S CONDITION HAS IMPROVED OR NOT. SHE SAYS THEY’RE HAVING A HARD TIME PAGING DOCTORS, GETTING SCANS AND X-RAYS. ELECTRONIC PAYMENT NOTES ARE NOW LIMITED TO PEN, PAPER AND FAX MACHINE, DELAYING VITAL COMMUNICATION. 12 NEWS TALKED TO SEVERAL PATIENTS WHO DIDN’T WANT TO GO ON CAMERA, BUT SAY THEY HAD APPOINTMENTS CANCELED. SOME TURNED AWAY AT THE DOOR FOR NON-EMERGENCY CARE. ASCENSION HEALTH, IN A STATEMENT, SAYS ITS STAFF ARE TRAINED TO HANDLE DISRUPTIONS LIKE THIS AND ARE WORKING TO MAKE SURE THERE’S MINIMAL IMPACT ON PATIENT CARE. WHAT ARE WE DOING? WE NEED TO GET THIS FIXED. WE CAN’T CONTACT OUR DOCTORS. IS THIS GOING TO BE RESOLVED FOR TOMORROW, OR IS THIS GOING TO BE RESOLVED IN A WEEK? WE DON’T KNOW. EMILY IS LIVE TONIGHT OUTSIDE ASCENSION SAINT FRANCIS HOSPITAL ON MILWAUKEE’S SOUTH SIDE. EMILY, WHAT IS THE TIMELINE TO GET SYSTEMS BACK ONLINE? NO TIMELINE YET FROM THE COMPANY. ASCENSION SAYS IT’S HIRED A CYBERSECURITY FIRM TO INVESTIGATE THE ATTACK. THEY ALSO SAY THAT THOSE EXPERTS ARE LOOKING INTO WHETHER OR NOT THE HACKERS GOT AHOLD OF ANY

‘We can’t contact our doctors’: Ascension health care workers struggle after cyberattack

Ascension said it was the victim of a “cyber security incident” Wednesday

Ascension health care systems announced Thursday it was the victim of a “cyber security event” Wednesday, causing a system outage impacting facilities across the country.It’s impacting locations in Wisconsin as well, like Saint Francis and Saint Mary’s hospitals. The cyberattack caused the company’s electronic health record to go offline, health care workers told WISN 12 News Thursday. They said it’s had a “devastating” impact on hospital operations. “We’re back to the documentation methods that we moved away from 20 years ago,” said Gavin Rice, who works in imaging at Saint Francis, and is also a member of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.Rice said health care providers at St. Francis Hospital can’t access patients’ medical history.”We had no idea who those patients were or when they were coming in or what their orders were for, because we had no access to any of that information,” Rice said. Surgical technician and president of WFNHP, Connie Smith said right now, nurses can’t compare old and new scans to see if a patient’s condition has improved or not. Which can be dangerous in certain emergency situations, like those with heart issues.”If you’re coming in in an emergency situation, they want to compare EKGs,” Smith said.Rice and Smith said staff are having a hard time paging doctors, getting scans, and getting X-rays. Electronic patient notes are now limited to pen, paper and fax machines — delaying vital communication.WISN 12 News talked to several patients who didn’t want to go camera, but said they had their appointments canceled. Some said they were turned away at the door for non-emergency care.Ascension, in a statement, said its staff are trained to handle disruptions like this and are working to make sure there is minimal impact on patient care.”On Wednesday, May 8, we detected unusual activity on select technology network systems, which we now believe is due to a cyber security event. At this time we continue to investigate the situation. We responded immediately, initiated our investigation and activated our remediation efforts. Access to some systems have been interrupted as this process continues.Our care teams are trained for these kinds of disruptions and have initiated procedures to ensure patient care delivery continues to be safe and as minimally impacted as possible. There has been a disruption to clinical operations, and we continue to assess the impact and duration of the disruption.”Rice and Smith are asking Ascension leaders for more information.”What are we doing? We need to get this fixed. We can’t contact our doctors,” Smith said.”Is this going to be resolved tomorrow? Or is this going to be resolved in a week? We don’t know,” Rice said. Ascension said it hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate the attack. Those experts are also looking to find out if hackers obtained any patient health data.TOP HEADLINESSemitrailer crash causes major backups on I-41 in Germantown Teen arrested in latest crash involving Milwaukee County busDriving without a license: Milwaukee lawmaker seeks tougher penaltiesMilwaukee officer shot in Cinco de Mayo restaurant dispute, suspect chargedFather and son suing high school basketball coaches over playing time, being cut from team

Ascension health care systems announced Thursday it was the victim of a “cyber security event” Wednesday, causing a system outage impacting facilities across the country.

It’s impacting locations in Wisconsin as well, like Saint Francis and Saint Mary’s hospitals. The cyberattack caused the company’s electronic health record to go offline, health care workers told WISN 12 News Thursday. They said it’s had a “devastating” impact on hospital operations.

“We’re back to the documentation methods that we moved away from 20 years ago,” said Gavin Rice, who works in imaging at Saint Francis, and is also a member of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.

Rice said health care providers at St. Francis Hospital can’t access patients’ medical history.

“We had no idea who those patients were or when they were coming in or what their orders were for, because we had no access to any of that information,” Rice said.

Surgical technician and president of WFNHP, Connie Smith said right now, nurses can’t compare old and new scans to see if a patient’s condition has improved or not. Which can be dangerous in certain emergency situations, like those with heart issues.

“If you’re coming in in an emergency situation, they want to compare EKGs,” Smith said.

Rice and Smith said staff are having a hard time paging doctors, getting scans, and getting X-rays. Electronic patient notes are now limited to pen, paper and fax machines — delaying vital communication.

WISN 12 News talked to several patients who didn’t want to go camera, but said they had their appointments canceled. Some said they were turned away at the door for non-emergency care.

Ascension, in a statement, said its staff are trained to handle disruptions like this and are working to make sure there is minimal impact on patient care.

“On Wednesday, May 8, we detected unusual activity on select technology network systems, which we now believe is due to a cyber security event. At this time we continue to investigate the situation. We responded immediately, initiated our investigation and activated our remediation efforts. Access to some systems have been interrupted as this process continues.

Our care teams are trained for these kinds of disruptions and have initiated procedures to ensure patient care delivery continues to be safe and as minimally impacted as possible. There has been a disruption to clinical operations, and we continue to assess the impact and duration of the disruption.”

Rice and Smith are asking Ascension leaders for more information.

“What are we doing? We need to get this fixed. We can’t contact our doctors,” Smith said.

“Is this going to be resolved tomorrow? Or is this going to be resolved in a week? We don’t know,” Rice said.

Ascension said it hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate the attack. Those experts are also looking to find out if hackers obtained any patient health data.

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