WRH prepares to start electronic charting following October cyberattack


Windsor Regional Hospital have begun using an electronic system for registering and discharging patients following a cyberattack in October. 

During Thursday's Board of Directors meeting, an update was given on where restoration efforts at the hospital currently sits. 

A cyberattack on October 23 impacted services at Windsor Regional Hospital, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington, Bluewater Health in Sarnia, and Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. 

As of December 2, information of patients who were admitted and discharged during the downtime period are starting to be entered into the hospital's electronic system. 

As of Thursday, current patient's and current treatment plans and orders have been entered as well. And starting next Wednesday, the hospital plans to go start adding patient health records electronically. 

In terms of diagnostic imaging for CT's and MRI's, Priority 1 Emergent and Priority 2 Urgent exams are still running at 100 per cent capacity. Priority 3 Semi-Urgent have just recently returned to 100 per cent capacity and a backlog for these scans are now being completed. Meanwhile, Priority 4 Non-Urgent scans aren't expected to start until the new year. 

Karen Riddell, Chief Nursing Executive at Windsor Regional Hospital, says it's positive that some records are being entered electronically. 

"Both registering and discharging patient's in our electronic system that were admitted and discharged during the downtime period, and this is necessary to be able to build onto those charts," she continued. "So all of our paper records that we have kept during this downtime will need to be scanned and uploaded into that system."

She says everyone is very excited for next week's restoration work.

"Over the course of the next few days, we have a very detailed plan where each program will be entering their patients in a systematic way with a plan that we will actually turn the system on, on Wednesday, and be back to electronic charting."

Riddell says until their picture archiving and communication system is back up, those waiting for a Non-Urgent scan are the ones who will be impacted. 

"And we don't expect to be able to ramp up for MRI's until January of 2024, and CT's until February of 2024. So once or PACS [picture archiving and communication system] is up and running, we are concentrating on our P3 backlog, which are those Semi-Urgent cases, typically cancer related cases," she said.

It was noted during the meeting that this is not a full restoration of systems, and the pharmacy and labs aren't expected to be integrated for another two weeks to a month.