Indy area hospital computers hacked, staff forced to use pen and paper | #computerhacking | #hacking

INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN) —Doctors and nurses at an Indianapolis-area hospital are having to rely on pen and paper for much of their work following a cyberattack that forced the hospital system to shut down its computer network.

Johnson Memorial Health president and CEO Dr. David Dunkle says hackers got into the hospital system’s network at 10:31 p.m. Friday. Within a couple of minutes, the cybercriminals began infecting the system with ransomware. At 10:40 p.m., Dunkle said, JMH’s IT Department detected the hack and then shut down the computer network a few minutes later.

“So any computer throughout the organization that is connected to our network, so anything that people have to use their credentials for to log onto in the system, is currently shut down,” Dunkle said.

It’s still not known if the hackers got hold of any sensitive medical or personal information. The FBI is leading the investigation into the attack.

“We don’t know what has been compromised,” he said. “We are still doing those diagnostics and trying to determine the extent of the threat.”

In the meantime, doctors and nurses are working to continue patient care without using computers connected to the internet or each other. On Monday, staff members could be seen writing patient charts and notes on paper. Signs on computer screens said, “Do not use computer until further notice.”

Patients and visitors coming to the hospital Monday said it was a different experience, but they didn’t have any major delays.

“I walked in, went to the registration and the lady informed me that their computers were down and that they would have to do all the paperwork by hand,” said patient Judy Poling. “It was kind of like the Stone Age.”

“No problems,” said visitor Penny Mullins. “I mean, they had to do all that by hand, but they were pretty quick at it so it was great.”

Dunkle said the hospital was maintaining a full surgery schedule and only a few appointments had been postponed as of Monday. However, the return to paper records was slowing things down.

“We’re used to sending lab orders via computer, sending prescriptions to pharmacies via computer, so we’re going back to a real reliance on paper again,” Dunkle said. “We’re using more human runners, people taking lab recs between the ER and the lab.”

As of Monday, Johnson Memorial’s emergency department was diverting patients to other facilities.

“We can’t run as efficiently as we normally do, but we can run,” Dunkle said.  “And I think that’s what’s important.”

For now, the plan is to keep the ER on diversion and continue maintaining appointments as well as possible until computers can be rebooted. Dunkle said that could be weeks from now.

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