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5 southwestern Ontario hospitals hit by cyberattack, patient appointments to be rescheduled

Online services such as patient records and email have been down since Monday morning at five southwestern Ontario hospitals as a result of a cyberattack, according to the hospitals' IT provider.

IT provider investigating whether patient data compromised

The exterior of a brick building with red "Emergency" signs.

Online services such as patient records and email have been down since Monday morning at five southwestern Ontario hospitals following a cyberattack, according to the hospitals' IT provider.

TransForm is a local non-profit founded by Windsor Regional Hospital, Erie Shores HealthCare, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Bluewater Health and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance to run IT, supply chain and accounts, according to the organization's website.

In a news release Monday evening, TransForm said that it has determined that its member hospitals are experiencing a cyberattack.

"Unfortunately, this incident is impacting [the hospitals'] provision of care in various ways," reads the statement from TransForm.

It continues to say that patients with scheduled care appointments in the coming days will be contacted by their hospital to reschedule or make alternate arrangements.

The company says it is investigating the "cause and scope of incident, including whether any patient information was affected."

TransForm's director of stakeholder relations, Michelle Watters, told CBC News that the organization would not be providing further comment.

All of the impacted hospitals released a joint statement on Monday night, noting that they might not be able to directly reach all patients ahead of time and might have to reschedule appointments for people in person.

"We would continue to ask if you are not needing emergency care to attend your primary care provider or local clinic to reduce the impact upon the Hospitals as we work towards addressing these issues and focus on those needing hospital care," reads the joint statement.

The hospitals also said they will not be providing further comment on the issue.

IT provider previously said patient care not impacted

This update comes after TransForm released a statement Monday afternoon stating that its member hospitals, as well as Windsor-Essex Hospice, were all impacted by a service outage.

Watters had told CBC News earlier on Monday that the organization found that some of their systems were experiencing "abnormal performance activity" and so "in an abundance of caution all systems were taken down."

Watters had also previously said that patient care "is not affected with this outage."

Watters said people attending the hospital are asked to be patient and expect delays.

Windsor Regional Hospital said email was offline and to call 519-254-5577 instead.

"We will direct your call as best we can," the hospital said in a statement. "We appreciate patience as there may be additional delays."

It's unclear when systems will be back online, but TransForm said in its recent statement that it will provide updates as necessary and that its investigation is ongoing.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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