UVM Health Electronic Health Record System is Now Online One Month After Ransomware Attack

A month after being hit with a ransomware attack, the University of Vermont Health Network reported that its electronic health record (EHR) system is now restored. The ransomware attack happened on October 25, 2020 and brought about a huge outage in six of its hospitals. For the last month, employees had no choice but to log patient information, orders, and prescription drugs using pen and paper because its computer systems were offline.

UVM continued to provide patient care during the attack and recovery process, however, the restoration of its EHR will significantly increase performance. The attack brought about major disruption, particularly at the University of Vermont Medical Center located in Burlington, nevertheless, the attack affected all its network. Because essential patient data is inaccessible, the schedule of various elective procedures was changed and the radiology department based on the main campus encountered delays and was simply partly open.

In a November 24, 2020 report, UVM Health said it had a significant milestone in the process of recovery, when its Epic EHR system is finally accessible online for its inpatient and outpatient domains, such as UVM Medical Center and the Central Vermont Medical Center ambulatory clinics, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, and Porter Medical Center.

Although electronic patient data can now be accessed and employees can note patient data electronically, the recovery process is not yet over and much work still must be carried out. The UVM Health teams keep on working 24 hours a day to fully restore everything quickly and safely.

The phone system has been fixed, however, patients still cannot use the MyChart patient website so patients cannot access their health data on the internet yet. There are hundreds of other patient care programs utilized by the health network that remains inaccessible. UVM Health is working really hard to restore those systems and they will be systematically re-established soon, with the major focus on patient-facing systems.

A few other healthcare systems suffered ransomware attacks around the same time as the UVM Health cyberattack. St Lawrence Health System in New York had restored its electronic health record systems two weeks after the ransomware attack, but Sky Lakes Medical Center had to replace the bulk of its networks and workstations because of the attack.

Ashtabula County Medical Center (ACMC) based in Ohio was notably badly impacted by a ransomware attack on September 24, 2020. Aside from the medical center, the attack also affected 5 health centers. Two months after the attack, the EHR is still not yet restored. A full restoration may be achieved at the end of the year.