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The University of Vermont Health Network has restored access to its electronic medical records for all inpatient and outpatient sites, such as primary care offices, which use the system, a hospital spokesman said Tuesday afternoon.
“This includes inpatient and ambulatory sites at UVM Medical Center and ambulatory clinics at Central Vermont Medical Center, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, and Porter Medical Center,” Neal Goswami said in an email.
Ambulatory refers to outpatient care.
A nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center writes notes on a paper patient chart on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, after a cyberattack forced a shutdown of key systems, including electronic medical records. (Photo: COURTESY RYAN MERCER/UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT HEALTH NETWORK)
Patients at the hospitals will receive more efficient care than they’ve been getting since a cyberattack nearly a month ago made the electronic records inaccessible, Goswami said. But patients still won’t be able to access their records online. MyChart, the system that gives patients access to their records, remains offline as a result of the attack.
“Patients will be most familiar with MyChart,” Goswami told the Burlington Free Press. “But we use hundreds of applications throughout the Network that help deliver various kinds of care, including radiology services, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and more.”
All of that care is being adversely affected by the cyberattack. Some patients have also been unable to reach their providers by phone, Goswami added, although he said the phone systems have been restored.
The electronic medical records system was installed by Epic, the Wisconsin-based IT company that handles medical records for more than 250 million patients nationwide.
More work to be done
Goswami confirmed on Oct. 29 that the network had suffered a cyberattack that impacted all six of its hospitals, with the biggest impact coming at the flagship University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. Elective surgeries, as well as many other procedures, had to be rescheduled.
Goswami said Tuesday the restoration of the electronic records marked an “important accomplishment” that will make things better for patients.
Look back: University of Vermont Health Network suffers IT outage; confirms cyberattack
“Bringing Epic back online means our staff will no longer need to manually log patient information, and medications, treatment, and clinical orders can be recorded electronically once again,” he said in an email.
Computers impacted by a cyberattack at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington await retirement on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. After the attack forced a shutdown of the hospital’s electronic medical records system and other key systems, the IT department, with support from the Vermont National Guard’s cyber team, scanned thousands of computers for malware and replaced machines for hospital staff. (Photo: COURTESY RYAN MERCER/UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT HEALTH NETWORK)
Goswami stressed there is a “significant amount of work” yet to be done before the network’s systems are fully restored from the damage caused by the cyberattack. Some patients have had their scheduled care delayed or rescheduled.
Goswami said the network’s IT team will focus its efforts now on restoring additional “patient-facing” applications, such as MyChart. He said that anyone having difficulty reaching a provider should call 802-847-8888.
The latest updates on the cyberattack can be found at www.uvmhealth.org/cyberattack.
Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 660-1841 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanDambrosioVT. This coverage is only possible with support from our readers.
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