3 weeks after cyberattack, Appalachian Regional Healthcare facilities now back online

Appalachian Regional Healthcare this week is bringing its computer systems back online three weeks after shutting them down to stop the spread of a computer virus.

The Lexington, Ky.-based health system said Aug. 27 it was operating on an emergency operations plan due to a computer virus that limited its use of electronic, web-based services. The health system shut down all ARH computers to prevent the virus from spreading.

In that time, patient care, registration, medication, imaging and laboratory services were "being managed manually," according to the health system. While ARH emergency departments continued to accept patients, providers were evaluating critical patients to see if they should be transferred to other medical facilities for care.

During the downtime, ARH asked patients to bring prescribed medications and medical history information with them to physician appointments or when going to the ED.

ARH operates 10 hospitals across eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies and retail pharmacies.

The health system announced Thursday all ARH hospitals, home health, retail pharmacies and various clinics are back online.

"Our ARH Information Technology team has spent the past few weeks strategically working through these issues to restore our computer network. We owe it to those we serve to be very thorough in this process, and are taking the time needed to check all computers and be sure all of our systems are safe and functioning properly prior to bringing them back online," said Maria Braman, MD, ARH vice president for medical affairs.

ARH says it has no reason to believe any protected health information or financial information of patients or employees has been accessed. Federal authorities are still investigating the cyberattack.

More articles on cyberattacks:

Missouri behavioral health facility hit with cyberattack
World Anti-Doping Agency: Hackers leaked Simone Biles', Serena Williams' medical records
RI gastroenterology center alerts patients to possible breach after finding encrypted files

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