Erie County Medical Center, which continues to struggle with a massive computer shutdown, reported Friday that it is making progress in efforts to restore its information systems.
The hospital shut down its computers on April 9 after a cyberattack. Hospital officials still decline to confirm the attack as ransomware, citing investigations into what happened. But sources have told The News that it was ransomware, in which perpetrators encrypt files and offer a ransom to unlock them. Generally speaking, in cases of ransomware, emails trick recipients into opening attachments and releasing malware into their systems.
ECMC also said no medical records were compromised.
In a summary of computer restoration progress, medical center officials said the hospital website was now up, and more than 6,000 hard drives were cleaned and returned to work stations, although staff were advised not to turn on the computers yet.
The electronic medical record system is partly back up in view-only mode. An electronic registration process has begun for emergency department patients, ambulatory surgery, transplantation, dentistry and direct admissions. Temporary email has been established, and other financial systems are beginning to come online.
However, there is much work to be done to get back to normal.
ECMC said the following restoration tasks will take place next week: establish a new hospital email system; continue phased restoration of inpatient electronic medical record functions, including the ability to view outpatient electronic medical records; electronic communication with the ECMC lab system; the bed coordinating system; and the roll out of restored desktop computers.
Other work is scheduled to start the week of May 1, including electronic transmission of radiological images; physician documentation, starting with the emergency department and psychiatric emergency room; the continued rollout of restored desktop computers; and the continued restoration of inpatient electronic medical record functions.
“Thanks to the hard work, dedication and tireless effort of the ECMC family, patient care continues to be delivered, and Western New Yorkers continue to receive the quality health care services they deserve and have come to expect. Under the circumstances, that’s a strong testament to our caregivers’ commitment and the community’s trust in them. We continue to make progress on restoring our computer system," Thomas J. Quatroche Jr. ECMC president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.