The ransomware attacks continue. There are several hospitals (at least five) that are rumored to have been attacked by ransomware in the past two weeks. They are trying to keep it quiet, but the attacks were largely successful in at least a few of the attacks. Two hospitals are known to have been without computer support for over a week. I know, because one of them is the one where I work.
Some systems were not affected because they were on different servers, but the common thread here is that all of the hospitals that were attacked used the same medical record reporting software. That may or may not be important. At any rate, the loss of this server affected everything: medical records, prescription tracking, payroll, scheduling, email, you name it, it has all been down for over a week. They can’t even make people pay for food from the cafeteria because the POS system isn’t working. No cash register means that they are letting us eat for free.
Payday is Thursday, and we are already wondering if we are going to get paid. We can’t issue new account numbers to patients, and everything is being done on paper. We are tracking patient location and status by writing on windows with dry erase markers. everything has been reduced to using pen and paper. My unit alone has three people per shift, and we are generating over 800 pieces of paper during every 12 hour shift. That works out to each of us filling out one form every 23 seconds. Every second for 12 straight hours. We aren’t administrative- we are a clinical unit. Those papers are there to document what we are doing. I don’t even know how we are getting anything done with patient care because we are so buried in paperwork.
Some people are being furloughed because their jobs are completely dependent on computer technology. Other departments (mine included) are working overtime to handle the additional workload. I suggested that it would be cheaper to send people with nothing to do up to the departments that need help with paperwork, rather than pay people overtime. That suggestion was ignored. The extra paperwork doesn’t require technical or medical training, it simply needs hands and a functioning brain. Instead, my unit is working overtime. I worked 60 hours last week, and 60 hours the week before. So yeah, I really hope that we DO get paid.
That has cut into my personal time, as well as into my blogging.
The other thing that I wonder is why are all of these ransomware attacks happening all of a sudden? In this case, the hackers are demanding $5 million from EACH hospital that has been hacked. Is it money? Some other motivation? Why now? Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. The question is: Who is the enemy? Are we at war? Is this China? Russia? Iran? Or is it the Democrats trying to sow confusion? All of those sound farfetched, but what events of the last two years haven’t seemed even more unlikely?
We have already seen a bioweapon unleashed on the world, only to find out that our own government not only knew about the virus, they instructed us on countermeasures that they KNEW were untrue, but also that the guy in charge of responding was part of the team that developed it, and that our own government sponsored it. Then a part of our government used it as cover to rig a national election. I don’t thing anything is impossible at this point.