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Computerized Systems can be compromised by Cyberattacks

Summary:
I took the story from a NBC News article written by Kevin Collier, “Parents struggle after Lurie Children’s Hospital cyberattack.” Quelle Surprise as one blogger used to say from time to time. What else is new? This was bound to happen. The issue(s) as I see it, is/are what is the backup(s) to the system? The Story Deborah Land said the outage has caused an infuriating runaround. Her daughter needs bloodwork completed for an appointment next week. The digital order to get that bloodwork is inaccessible due to Lurie’s systems being down Repeated calls to the hospital’s emergency call center and a visit to the hospital has not yielded a paper order for the bloodwork. Her daughter is on a controlled substance and needs to refill her

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I took the story from a NBC News article written by Kevin Collier, “Parents struggle after Lurie Children’s Hospital cyberattack.”

Quelle Surprise as one blogger used to say from time to time. What else is new? This was bound to happen. The issue(s) as I see it, is/are what is the backup(s) to the system?

The Story

Deborah Land said the outage has caused an infuriating runaround. Her daughter needs bloodwork completed for an appointment next week. The digital order to get that bloodwork is inaccessible due to Lurie’s systems being down Repeated calls to the hospital’s emergency call center and a visit to the hospital has not yielded a paper order for the bloodwork.

Her daughter is on a controlled substance and needs to refill her prescription every week. Ann and Robert Lurie hospital systems are down and patients do not have access to MyChart a computer based medical program allowing patients to message doctors for prescription renewals. The result? Deborah Land scrambling to find another doctor to renew her daughter’s prescription. Land . . .

“I still have not been able to reach the specialist. There’s no phone number at the hospital I can call. I cannot email. I cannot use MyChart.”

A hospital staffer called her from a private number to tell her a virtual appointment was canceled. Because of down systems with no backup, it was impossible to call back and reschedule.

My Thoughts

We rely on computerization to get through our daily routines. Some routines being more serious such as Deborah Land’s and others not so serious. Routines such as checking out with groceries, using a debit card to pay for the groceries, or using the same debit to get cash from a bank ATM.

Lurie hospital in all of their trust in a computer system appears to lack an in-place fail-safe system. Hence they are being held captive until they pay up or the “perp” is caught. In the business industry, “fail-safe” is a term referring to a system that can automatically reroute in case of failure. A fail-safe system is one that will continue functioning even if one or more parts of the system fail.

So what is the fail-safe system to back up a criminally invaded computer system?

Early-on in manufacturing, companies used Kardex files. Each component had a part number, description, an inventory location, supplier, etc. This covered hundreds of parts and it was dependent upon people to keep the system accurate by logging inventory transactions. It was tedious work for a couple of people. Computerization replaced it and was far more efficient as long as people used the system and did not “steal” inventory from a location and not record it. The other issue was power outages. This could be handled with a weekly run of inventory by location.

At U of M. Things were computerized too. I would barely get out the door and a bill would arrive on my computer. However, my primary care, heart, etc. doctor had my records on file on a 8.5 x 11 manila card. I had my own records also and brought them with me to AZ.

What happened at Lurie is serious. However, I do not believe it should have been so serious as to block healthcare to patients with serious medical conditions. They could have had a fail-safe, JIC system in place to back up the computer-hacked system. Maybe they will the next time as this could happen again.

I would urge people to have your own record file also.

As taken from: “Parents struggle after Lurie Children’s Hospital cyberattack,” nbcnews.com,, Kevin Collier.

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