Hospital's patient data may be lost after 'catastrophe'

UPDATE: HEALTH Minister Cameron Dick has assured no patient safety has been compromised due to a major software failure at Cairns Hospital.

The Minister told State Parliament this morning the ransomware attack, which had impacted personal computers and computer networks operated by privat enterprise and governments across the world, had not resulted in any breaches to Queensland Health security.

He said security patches loaded to protect the system, including Cairns Hospital's Digital Hospital software, had resulted in "making logging on and off the ieMR (integrated electronic medical record) system difficult for some users."

"While this is causing inconvenience to staff, I'm advised that there have been no patient safety issues and our hospitals are operating as usual," he said.

"While a large number of users remain on the system, full downtime procedures, for which staff have been trained and are ready, including reverting to paper systems as necessary, are operating as required."

It has also been revealed that Cairns Hospital called a "Code Yellow" alert yesterday, as a result of the software failure.

Code Yellow usually signifies the emergency department has reached maximum ­capacity, involves staff being called in to support the flow of patients through the hospital.

It also means a loss of essential services, including software systems.

Mr Dick said he had been advised the impact of the logon issues may result in some delays to patient admission or discharge.

EARLIER: A QUEENSLAND hospital may have suffered a "catastrophic" loss of patient data due to a system failure with its problem-plagued Digital Hospital software.

Health Minister Cameron Dick is expected to address State Parliament this morning about the major issue, which has affected the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) since Tuesday.

Health sources suggested the source of the issue may be a cyber-attack.

Cairns Hospital
Cairns Hospital

Together Union's Cairns health representative Dr Sandy Donald said the failure of the hospital's integrated electronic medical records system, known as Digital Hospital, had caused major interruptions to patient care.

"It is possible that a lot of patient information has been lost," he said.

"And most people had no access to patient records.

"Obviously that causes major problems looking after patients."

He said hospital staff had not yet been notified about the source of the software issue.

Cairns Hospital was chosen as a pilot site for the rollout of Digital Hospital earlier last year.

The program was deemed defective within two weeks of its roll out, with clinicians saying it resulted in "significant adverse impacts" upon patient safety and care.

It has also been blamed for putting the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service on the path towards its $80 million budget blowout.

Comment is being sought from CHHHS.

News Corp Australia

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