Hospitals Battle Cyber Issues

The holiday season took a turn for the worse for Liberty Hospital when an apparent cyberattack disrupted the organization’s computer systems.

The hospital detected suspicious activity Dec. 19 that was identified as a cybersecurity incident. The organization was forced to shut down several systems and close several areas. By mid-January, the hospital announced they had significantly recovered and were moving closer to full functionality. They noted several positive steps in the recovery process, including:

  • Most of the hospital and clinic capabilities are once again functional, although a few areas are intentionally treating a reduced number of patients.
  • Patient electronic health records are once again in use at the hospital and all clinics.
  • Digital functionality for most equipment and applications has been restored.
  • The emergency department is no longer on diversion. This came in time to help alleviate the strain on other area hospitals during plunging temperatures in mid-January.

While the hospital’s inpatient and outpatient volumes increased daily, patient safety remains their top priority. Whenever necessary, they plan to continue using regulatory-approved, downtime patient safety protocols to ensure proper care and documentation.

For the latest information, visit this web page on the Liberty Hospital website.

Cyberattacks and related IT issues are increasingly common. Small businesses are especially vulnerable, but larger organizations, including medical institutions, are increasingly targeted. 

In early January, North Kansas City Hospital (NKCH) and Meritas Health Corporation notified more than 500,000 individuals of a third-party data breach stemming from Perry Johnson & Associates (PJ&A), a medical transcription service. PJ&A suffered a data breach in May of last year that impacted nearly nine million people. The breach did not directly affect the hospital’s security system. 

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