The shared services model adopted by governments and non-profits has many advantages, including efficiency and economies of scale.
However, a cyber attack on a firm that provides shared IT services for five hospitals in Southern Ontario could be an example of what happens if a provider has trouble.
The five hospitals — Bluewater Health of Sarnia, Ont., Chatham Kent Health Alliance, Erie Shores HealthCare of Leamington, Ont., Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and Windsor Regional Hospital — said in a joint statement Monday that a cyber attack on their IT provider, TransForm Shared Service Organization, is impacting IT services.
“Unfortunately, this incident is impacting our provision of care in various ways,” the hospitals said in the statement.
“We are investigating the cause and scope of incident, including whether any patient information was affected. Our investigation is ongoing and we will provide further updates as appropriate. We will not be providing further comment in response to this statement.”
People who don’t need emergency care have been asked not to go to the hospitals for the time being. Instead they should contact their family doctor or a local clinic. Patients scheduled to have treatment were being contacted to reschedule appointments or provide alternative arrangements.
In a statement, TransForm said it has determined the hospitals are experiencing a cyber attack. “Unfortunately, this incident is impacting their provision of care in various ways. For those patients who have care scheduled in the next few days, the hospitals will contact you directly, if possible, to reschedule or provide alternate arrangements. We are investigating the cause and scope of incident, including whether any patient information was affected. Our investigation is ongoing and we will provide further updates, as appropriate.”
Headquartered in Chatham, Ont. and founded in 2013, TransForm Shared Service Organization is a not-for-profit, shared services organization founded by the five hospitals in Erie St. Clair to manage their hospital IT and supply chain needs.
It also oversees the project management of the Ontario eHub, a provincial clinical data integration network implementing PointClickCare’s Post-Acute Care Network Management for participating healthcare institutions. So far over 36 hospitals and 118 long term care homes in the province are on eHub, with more to come by the end of the year.