A “cyber incident” at a Wollongong medical centre has patients concerned their records may be lost, or even illegally accessed.
GPs at Ochre Health Wollongong have been unable to access their patients’ medical records for two weeks after the incident which has still not been resolved.
A spokesperson for Ochre Health has moved to allay concerns, however it’s left patients rattled.
How can this happen? What protection do we have and what responsibilities does Ochre Health have to answer for?
Oak Flats resident Maic Lichtenberg told the Mercury that he was upset about the lack of information around the incident.
“I am very disappointed that Ochre Health of Wollongong has not contacted all their clients, to advise them that their medical history, information may be lost or taken as their computer system was hacked,” he said.
“They should be advising us that 30 years of medical treatment including what medications I’m on may be lost or at least my privacy has been invaded.
“How can this happen? What protection do we have and what responsibilities does Ochre Health have to answer for?”
Mr Lichtenberg said to add insult to injury, he’d been charged a fee for a recent appointment, despite his GP not being able to supply him with test results.
“I made an appointment to check on results from three weeks ago only for the doctor to tell me that she has no results but it must not have been bad as she can not remember any red flags,” he said. “Then to be charged for the consultation as well, I thought was a bit rough.”
The Ochre Health spokesperson said the organisation became aware of a “cyber incident” impacting the Crown St centre on Sunday July 8.
“Following detailed investigations by specialist IT providers, we can confirm that no patient information has been accessed as a result of the incident.
“The nature of the incident has resulted in the impacted servers remaining offline since July 8 as we continue to investigate a method of safe and secure data recovery.”
The spokesperson said a patient management system was up and running in the practice, with GPs still available to provide clinical assessments, make referrals and provide prescriptions.
“The practice has direct links in place to its pathology provider for receiving test results. Results are coming through as normal.”
Ochre Health operates 33 centres across Australia; 11 in NSW. The spokesperson said 10 sites had been impacted – with two site’s systems now fully restored.
“We have restored partial patient data to the majority of practices and all practices have patient practice management software in place and working.
“We are working closely with all sites to ensure the teams are fully supported as we work through the issue.”