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'Business is back as usual' at West Palm Beach hospitals impacted by cyberattack, doctor says

Telephone, computer systems were crippled at St. Mary's Medical Center, Good Samaritan Medical Center
St. Mary's Medical Center
Posted at 2:49 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 17:28:48-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Palm Beach County doctor said Friday that systems are "back as usual" at both St. Mary's Medical Center and Good Samaritan Medical Center more than a week after a cyberattack.

This comes after Tenet Health, which operates the two West Palm Beach hospitals, acknowledged Tuesday that they "experienced a cybersecurity incident last week."

The incident crippled telephone and computer systems at both locations.

Families and hospital employees called WPTV this week to voice their concerns about how the computer system failure at both hospitals was delaying their access to essential medical records and test results.

Dr. Olayemi Osiyemi, who works at both hospitals, said Friday that systems were back online at both St. Mary's Medical Center and Good Samaritan Hospital.

"I'm glad it's over," Osiyemi said. "Things are back online."

Dr. Olayemi Osiyemi speaks about Tenet Health hack
Dr. Olayemi Osiyemi discusses how his work has been impacted by the cybersecurity incident at St. Mary's Medical Center and Good Samaritan Medical Center.

He said the last few days have been frustrating after phone lines were shut down and access to digital records was compromised.

"Without access to online information, you have to grab a chart, you have to flip the pages," Osiyemi said. "It was time-consuming. Going back to paper ... it wasn't pleasant."

He said emergency calls were diverted to nearby hospitals, and patients waiting to be discharged were delayed.

"We couldn't discharge them because we didn't have results, and so it was very frustrating for everyone," Osiyemi said.

RELATED: Timeline gives insight into cybersecurity breach at West Palm Beach hospital

The health care industry has been a target for hackers as hospitals were spread thin during the pandemic.

"The federal government has been warning everyone that this is something we're going to see more often considering the Ukraine-Russia incident that's going on," Osiyemi said.

David Anefils, cybersecurity expert
David Anefils shares the advice he would give to medical professionals about storing patient information.

David Anefils, a cybersecurity expert with, has seen the complex damage that cybercriminals can do.

"I advise every doctor, every dentist, anyyone I know working with patient information, to use an EMR (Electric Medical Records) website," Anefils said.

Anefils believes the best way to protect patient data is to store their information remotely.

"It's better security because you know your very sensitive data is being stored in the cloud somewhere," Anefils said. "It's secret and safe."

Tenet Health sent the update to internal staff and patients said their concerns are being addressed by risk management.

It is still unclear who or what agency was responsible for the cyberattack.