This week kicked off with a curious story first revealed over the weekend by the Cairns Post, which reported that the two far north Queensland hospital and health services had parted ways with the vendor chosen to roll out the electronic medical record part of the proposed Regional eHealth Project (ReHP).
This project has been on the drawing board since 2012, when Queensland Health got lucky in a bid for funding from the Commonwealth Health and Hospitals Fund (HHF), which was one of three infrastructure investment funds set up in the 2008-9 federal budget to the tune of $22.4 billion. The HHF got $5 billion of that to fund capital investment in health facilities, including for medical technology and equipment.
Wellington, NZ residents woke up last Saturday to the unpalatable news that local primary health organisation Tū Ora Compass Health had its IT system hacked four times over the last three years, and it is unlikely it will ever know if patient information has been accessed.
Two of the hacks appear to have been old-fashioned defacing of websites by a malicious hacktivist, but the other two may prove to be a bit more serious. While PHOs don't hold patients' medical data, they do keep records of people who are enrolled at general practices in the region, their National Health Index number, and their name, date of birth and address. That is all very valuable information for identity fraudsters.
The big news this week was the cyber attack on hospitals in Gippsland and south-west Victoria, which knocked out clinical and administrative systems in the region including some large facilities such as University Hospital Geelong and Latrobe Regional Hospital in Traralgon.
We received word that the attack involves Ryuk, a particularly nasty piece of ransomware that has also affected hospitals in the US and Canada, including three this week in Alabama that had to turn away patients. It has also been causing havoc for financial organisations and some major US newspaper groups since it first appeared last year.