Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago takes systems offline following “evidence of suspicious activity”

Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, USA, reported last week that it had taken its systems offline on 31 January, to protect the organisation, its patients and staff “based on evidence of suspicious activity”. In a further update, the hospital has confirmed that its network “was accessed by a known criminal threat actor”.

The hospital implemented emergency preparedness plans including downtime procedures in response to the detected suspicious activity, whilst remaining open for patients with “as few disruptions as possible”. Systems taken down included phone, email, the organisation’s electronic medical records system, and MyChart patient portal.

In a post from its website, the hospital highlights that it has been working closely with experts and law enforcement agencies including the FBI, but notes that the complex nature of its systems mean incidents such as this “can take time to resolve”, committing to sharing further updates as they become available.

In the meantime, a call centre has been established for patient-families and community providers, to respond to queries and concerns, as well as to refill prescriptions, discuss appointments, and connect patients with care providers.

The hospital reports that its top priority “remains providing safe, quality care” for its patients and communities, praising the “diligence and dedication” of its staff, their care, and their talent, in ensuring that this remains unchanged.

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In related news, integrated health delivery system Northern Light Health in Maine, USA, reported that patient record systems had been taken offline as of Saturday 3 February, as monitoring systems indicated that a number of computer services had become compromised.

In other news from the US: MIT researchers have developed AI-based risk prediction models designed to support early interventions for pancreatic cancer; and the US Department of Health and Human Services announced the finalisation of a rule on interoperability and algorithm transparency.