Sutter Health's computer network outage forces surgery cancellations

Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health was forced to turn away some emergency room patients and cancel surgeries at many of its Northern California hospitals and clinics after a systemwide computer network outage began at 10:30 p.m. May 14, according to The Press Democrat.

As of the morning of May 16, a notice on the organization's website states hospital staff has implemented standard downtime procedures — which include reverting to paper-based processes — and is working to restore its systems.

The outage is affecting all Sutter facilities, but different locations may be affected in different ways. Clinicians do not have access to the health system's internal communications systems, including the service desk and some phone systems. At Alta Bates Sutter Medical Center in Oakland, Calif., clinicians could not log on to the EHR, and some procedures had to be canceled or rescheduled.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Sutter said the outage was "due to an activation of the fire suppression system in one of our Information Services buildings."  

"Services are open, although some services may need to be delayed or rescheduled," Sutter reportedly tweeted May 15. "Patients are asked to arrive at their appointments as scheduled unless they have been contacted with specific instructions otherwise."

A Sutter spokesperson told The Press Democrat there is no estimate  of when the systems will be back online, but some EHRs were functioning as "read-only" late  morning on May 15.

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