AHS experiences province-wide systems outage
January 25, 2023
EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services (AHS) will ask a third party to review the cause of a health network outage on Monday that impacted services across the province. The outage was resolved later in the day, and services were restored. The services included Connect Care and electronic medical records, Health Link 811, and community and hospital lab services.
AHS is contacting and rebooking any patients impacted by Monday’s surgical postponements, and it apologized for any disruption this caused.
Urgent and emergency surgeries continued throughout the day. 811 Health Link operated for most of the day with limited access before returning to full capacity mid-afternoon.
The third-party review, which will begin shortly, will help AHS determine the root cause of the network outage and identify any improvements that will prevent such outages happening in the future.
There is no indication that the technical outage was caused by hacking or any form of cyber-attack.
“It is imperative that we understand what happened today so that it does not happen again,” said Dr. John Cowell (pictured), AHS official administrator. “I would like to thank Albertans for their patience, as well as the teams involved in getting our systems back up and running.”
Dr. Sid Viner, AHS vice-president and medical director, said that staff are experienced with “downtime procedures,” which outline their workflow when computer systems go down, the Calgary Herald reported.
Sources told Postmedia, the owner of the Herald, that staff members were largely unable to access patient info, causing havoc in local clinics.
“We are having to use paper, whiteboards, phones more than we would in our day-to-day clinical practice. It’s definitely impacting workflows. People know what to do in these situations. All of that is being done,” Viner said before the outage was resolved.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta.