Advertisement
Share

Scripps Health website is back up; patient portal still down

Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla
Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla is one of the Scripps Health facilities affected by a May 1 cyberattack on the health care system’s computer network.
(Sam Hodgson / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

An investigation continues into what data, if any, was potentially affected.

Nearly three weeks into a ransomware attack, Scripps Health announced May 20 that its main website, scripps.org, is up and running again. But My Scripps, the digital portal that patients use for everything from making appointments to communicating with doctors, was still returning an error message as of the early afternoon.

One of the most important questions on patients’ minds since the attack occurred May 1 is whether patient data stored in Scripps’ electronic medical record has been downloaded from servers and is at risk of disclosure or sale in the darker corners of the internet. A check the morning of May 20 of sites that hacker gangs use to publish stolen data did not show anything from San Diego’s second-largest medical provider.

It appeared, despite 19 days of continuous investigation, that Scripps still doesn’t know to what extent highly sensitive records left its custody.

In a “frequently asked questions” list posted at scripps.org under the heading “Has my data been compromised?” Scripps states: “The investigation into the scope of the incident, including whether data was potentially affected, remains ongoing. Depending on the investigation’s findings, we will be sure to provide notifications to affected individuals in accordance with all applicable laws.”

It also was unclear whether Scripps has regained access to its medical records systems. Citing a leaked internal memorandum, NBC 7 in San Diego reported May 19 that Scripps medical staff is now able to view patient information that existed before May 1, when the attack forced all to switch to paper charts. Such improved access would be a major turning point for patients and medical professionals, allowing in-depth checks of medical history that are necessary to ensure appropriate care.

A Scripps representative declined to say May 20 whether electronic health records are fully or partially restored.

It appeared over the weekend that Scripps struggled with some of its most basic electronic systems, including the telemetry network that enables nurses to view real-time data from vital sign monitors on computer workstations at nursing stations.

A patient at one local Scripps hospital said a private security company installed closed-circuit video cameras on vital sign monitoring displays in patient rooms to send video feeds to nursing stations because the systems were still unable to directly transmit their information. ◆