"We are not in a normal situation, not by a long shot," says the Clinic's medical director, Antoni Castells. Twelve days after a sophisticated cyber attack, the hospital continues to operate precariously. Although the technicians of the Cybersecurity Agency of Catalonia are working hard, no date can be set for the re-establishment of normalcy. With care times greatly affected, the harm to users is very obvious.
The restoration process is very laborious because the technicians of the center's systems and information management and of the Cybersecurity Agency must ensure that no trace of the effects of the cyberattack remains on the restored servers, more than a third . Previous attacks on hospitals revived after a few weeks because the systems had not been sufficiently cleaned of infection. "We have to be very sure not to make any false steps in everything that is recovered because going back would be a disaster," explains Castells.
The progress of the last week, from not being able to do anything with the information system except to visualize its content, is significant. Yesterday a special contingency plan was launched to change the passwords of around 7,000 professionals from the three hospital headquarters (Villarroel, Plató and Maternitat) and the outpatient clinics it co-manages (Borrell, Casanova and les Corts ), who go to a window to obtain the new key physically, after identification with the DNI.
With this step, e-mail has been restored in various commonly used applications. From now on, professionals will use double authentication on access keys in order to strengthen security.
The hospital expects the process of changing passwords to end today, which yesterday caused a blockage in the agendas. In this sense, a patient who receives postoperative care every day at CAP Borrell had to insist yesterday morning because the schedule was not operational. "They couldn't attend to me because I wasn't assigned to any nurse. In the end they did it because I set up a sideral for them", he explains.
Thousands of external consultations and hundreds of surgeries have been postponed, although doctors can access patient records from Wednesday. The biggest concern at the moment is analytics. At the hospital, between 1,000 and 1,500 samples are managed every day through a highly computerized process based on a barcode. It is not possible to match, manually, the production capacity of the computer, so on Tuesday they began to derive analytics to external laboratories. "We can't keep up with the people who come to the extraction center every day", regrets Castells. A patient went there to have a scheduled test: "They told me that they didn't do tests for those who had already been transplanted, only for those who had not yet been transplanted. There were people there without an appointment who said 'the oncologist told me to come', and they took out a sheet for the tests".
According to Castells (digestive system specialist), there are complaints from users, but understanding prevails: "Today I had a consultation and the understanding is complete and absolute, apart from solidarity. Some person I visited did not have the test result and we agreed that I will call him by phone.