Patients warned of delays after computer systems go down at Manitoba hospitals

CBC News ·

Computer systems are back up and running at health centres across Manitoba, after the main storage area network went down for several hours on Thursday, causing “delays and challenges” for patients and staff.

The issue was with Citrix, the main information storage platform used to create an electronic patient record and house test results and other patient data. 

“They’re manually writing everything out on a form, which slows things down because they can’t look at your medical history,” said Sandra Thickson, who brought her husband to St. Boniface Hospital Thursday afternoon for a checkup. She said the delays in care seemed frustrating for staff and was causing delays for patients.

“Everybody looks a little tense,” she said.

According to a Shared Health spokesperson, all sites implemented “downtime protocols” to continue patient care as the technical support teams and the service provider worked to get Citrix back up and running.

“This is causing some delays and challenges in accessing computerized data and electronic patient charts,” said the spokesperson.

“I think it’s frustrating for anyone that has to sit and wait,” said Thickson, who was still waiting in the emergency department with her husband. “People are just … they’re sitting on top of each other in there. And who knows when they’re going to see a doctor.”

Shared Health said most systems were back up and running by 3:30 p.m., but delays could still be expected.

“This is a lengthier process which has the added step of requiring information to then be entered into the electronic system once the issue is resolved,” said the spokesperson.

The Manitoba Nurses Union said it is aware of the issue and that the system has been restored, but are “monitoring developments closely as they relate to the delivery of health care services across the province.”

A spokesperson with MNU said after speaking with nurses it’s estimated the outage lasted about 12 hours province wide, and began as early as 2 a.m. at one hospital.

Posted in Business Continuity, Cybersecurity, Healthcare Information Systems, IT Challenges.

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