The computer network system at a major Brooklyn hospital network has been offline since Nov. 19 – leaving medical staff unable to access patient medical records or to upload laboratory and test results to electronic patient portals, according to doctors and other people aware of the situation.
The outage affects One Brooklyn Health System, a consortium that comprises Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.
It is unclear what caused the outage or whether patients’ personal information, such as social security numbers and addresses, are at risk.
In a statement to THE CITY, One Brooklyn chief executive officer LaRay Brown did not explain how the disruption began or how long it will take to bring the system back online.
“One Brooklyn Health (OBH) recently experienced an incident resulting in a network disruption. Immediately upon discovering the incident, we took certain systems offline to contain the disruption,” the statement read. “Our IT team is continuing to work diligently with the support of third-party advisors to ensure that our systems are brought back online as quickly and safely as possible, and in a way that prioritizes patient care.”
Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesperson for the state Department of Health, said in a statement: “We are aware of the incident, and we are working with One Brooklyn Hospital Network to ensure patient safety.” He declined to comment further.
Asked if the outage was due to a ransomware attack or other malware, spokespersons for One Brooklyn and the state Department of Health declined to comment.
For almost a week, doctors and nurses have been unable to access patient medical records or results on computer systems. Instead, they have had to write everything down on pen and paper, and to view test results – such as CT scans and other images – directly on testing machines, rather than accessing them via computer anywhere in the hospital.
The network outages also mean doctors cannot fulfill prescriptions electronically, as required by a state law that went into effect in 2016, and must instead call pharmacies directly in order to do so, a time-consuming process that has led to longer waiting times during the busy flu season.
On Wednesday, an attending cardiologist at Interfaith described the situation as “very hectic.”
“There is no network anymore over here,” the doctor, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, told THE CITY. “There are no electronic medical records of any type and there is no network of any type. All computers, everything is down.”