Ontario Paramedics Taking Notes by Hand as Patient Software Hit by Cyberattack

iMedic, the software used by thousands of paramedics, has been hit by a potential cyberattack. Ontario paramedic services use this software to record patient data during calls but it is now offline and paramedics are having to take notes by hand. ESO, the company that owns the program, said the software has been down since Monday.

A range of Ontario paramedic services including Peel, Kitchener and Hamilton are monitored and organized by the software called iMedic. It allows them to record patient data during calls and then send that information to the doctors and nurses in hospitals. It has been developed by ESO and the company shared that the software was taken offline when “unauthorized access” was discovered. First responders have been taking notes by hand in the absence of the software.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health stated, “The ministry has been in constant communication with our paramedicine partners while this issue is investigated. In the meantime, we have ensured patients can be processed though paper land ambulance call reports, and that the necessary forms are available.”

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Because the server is offline for iMedic, paramedics can still take digital notes of their patients but are unable to transfer them to hospitals. If this continues, storage will eventually run out.

ESO also stated that no data has been breached and they have not noticed any malware or ransomware either. Andy Prince, a communications official with ESO said, as for the origin and reason for the cyberattack, they are not ruling out anything. “We’re not ruling anything out. Was it a Russian spy? Was it, you know, from China? We’re not ruling anything out at the moment in the process of discovery to figure out what actually happened.”

The cyberattack, however, did not interfere with patient care, according to Hamilton paramedics chief Michael Sanderson. It does not affect the ability of paramedics to respond to 9-1-1 calls. “There is also no evidence thus far that any confidential information has been compromised or that there is a risk to local IT systems,” he added.

Vineet Washington

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