Melbourne-based online appointment booking and patient engagement platform HotDoc went on the front foot this week in a call to the Victorian government to consider its platform for the ramped-up COVID-19 vaccination program, which is now being extended to 40-49 year olds. It is even offering its solution to the Victorian government for free and reckons it can stand something up in 48 hours to help Victorians get vaccinated.
That’s a far cry from Microsoft’s efforts, which despite being awarded a $5 million contract for a vaccine management solution for Victoria last year still hasn’t yet gone live. This platform is more than just a booking solution but you’d have to say come on, Microsoft. It’s June already. We know that alternatives have been put into action in the meantime – Cerner, for instance, has been offering its solution to health service customers in Victoria for Phase 1a – but it beggars belief that Microsoft has been unable to get its solution sorted in the meantime.
The week’s headlines were again dominated by the cyber attack on Waikato DHB, which is still in the very early days of recovery from what turned out to be an extremely significant incident. Officials confirmed that patient and staff data that was sent to the media earlier this week was genuine and had been stolen, but a deadline the alleged perpetrators gave for the payment of a ransom came and went with no public release of the documents.
It was not a great week for cyber security in healthcare around the world as malicious actors let loose, taking out Waikato DHB’s IT systems on Tuesday and having a go at the Alaskan Department of Health later in the week. Those incidents follow the massive attack on Ireland’s healthcare service last week, which was described by its CEO as catastrophic and affected the whole country. It is still recovering, but so is the Scripps Health network in San Diego, which continues to struggle two weeks later.
Early reports linked the perpetrators of the Irish attack to Waikato but that has since been disputed by the Ministry of Health, and it is still not clear who or what is responsible. One unexpected consequence has been disruption to the DHB’s payroll system – not only are clinicians having to revert to pen and paper, but the beancounters are too. The Victorian health system, which has had its fair share of cyber issues in the last few years, got a bit of cash in Thursday’s state budget to fix some of its cyber gaps, including money for next generation anti-virus protections, a Security Operations Centre, and a recovery service in the event of a successful attack.