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Waikato DHB: Week two

Paul Brislen, Editor. 24 May 2021, 7:33 am

The Waikato DHB cyber-crisis has spilled over into its second week with no sign of a resolution, only the possibility it may take another week to resolve the problems.

The DHB's IT systems were shut down following a ransomware attack leaving thousands of patients and their clinical staff in the dark as to which patient needed treatment.

Although the CEO seemed to think the system would be up and running by the weekend, it would now appear that rebuilding the DHB's entire data set may take a tad longer, prompting concerns about just how resilient our health system is.

The five affected hospitals are continuing to operate, albeit at reduced capacity, using largely paper-based systems, but the inefficiency inherent in such a process means up to 300 people a day are being turned away from their scheduled surgeries.

In last week's Budget the government promised nearly half a billion dollars for technology to support a generational revamp of the health system which will see all the 20 district health boards abolished, to be replaced by a centralised national system with four sub regions.

As a wake-up call for organisation relying on technology, the Waikato DHB attack is second to none. Now the job at hand is to ensure services are up and running quickly and the new health system's IT processes including much more resilience built in from the start.

Cyber-security must be a primary concernt, along with a great deal less duplication and separation of services. As is now becoming apparent, having 20 separate IT systems and strategies does not lead to a better outcome for patients regardless of where they are in the country.


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