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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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GW Hospital operations ‘recover’ after cyberattack, officials say

Hatchet File Photo
D.C. resident Doretha Parks claims GW Hospital workers held her “hostage” while injecting needles in her arm.

Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 5:29 p.m.

A cyberattack late last month that had caused technical outages at the GW Hospital’s majority owner also affected the hospital, according to The Washington Post.

The GW Hospital has recovered from a cyberattack that targeted Universal Health Services, the company that oversees the hospital, and forced many of its operations offline for more than a week, the Post reported. The hospital’s IT network and medical record systems were taken offline “shortly” after the cyberattack was detected and restored this week, UHS spokesperson Jane Crawford told the Post.

GW Hospital staff relied on “offline record-keeping” while UHS dealt with the attack that also affected some of the system’s clinical and financial operations, the Post reported. Staff at the Foggy Bottom hospital were still able to treat patients safely, according to the Post.

Patients’ electronic medical records were not directly affected by the cyberattack at any of the more than 400 UHS hospital locations, according to a statement UHS issued Monday.

“Universal Health Services is pleased to confirm substantial progress toward restoration of online operations across all UHS IT Networks,” the release states. “The company experienced a cyberattack early Sunday morning, Sept. 27, 2020, at which time UHS IT quickly disconnected all systems and shut down the network in order to prevent further propagation.”

UHS spokesperson Jane Crawford said all UHS facilities in the U.S. were impacted by the cyberattack caused by malware, a type of software intentionally designed to cause damage. She said UHS deployed a “significant” number of IT and clinical resources to support hospitals while they restored online operations.

“As of Sunday night, Oct. 4, the hospital’s electronic medical record system, Cerner, was restored and is now operating in real-time,” Crawford said in an email.

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