Indiana system recovers from ransomware attack: No more paper records, but CEO says 'a lot of work left to do'

Operations at Franklin, Ind.-based Johnson Memorial Health are nearly back to normal after hackers launched a ransomware attack six weeks ago, the Daily Journal reported Nov. 12.

Hackers gained access to the system's network Oct. 1 and installed ransomware. About 15 minutes later, the health system's IT team discovered the attack and shut down the computer system, said David Dunkle, MD, president and CEO of Johnson Memorial.

The attack took some hospital operations offline. Clinicians reverted to using paper records, the hospital's emergency department was on diversion for a month, the billing department was unable to submit bills electronically and payroll was determined using a calculator.

"The darkest days are behind us, but there is a lot of work left to do," Dr. Dunkle told the Daily Journal.

The hospital's IT team is combing through 1,000 computers and tablets to see what could have been compromised. An investigation could take months, Dr. Dunkle said.

Dr. Dunkle said most of the hospital's IT networks have been restored, according to the report. The hospital is still working to get its email functioning. Hospital employees are using backup emails to communicate when needed. And as hospital operations return, so does the staff's morale, Dr. Dunkle said.

"I’m seeing smiling faces again, and that’s what makes me happy," he told the publication.

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