Hacker attack hits paramedicine program

Par Raymond Berthiaume
Hacker attack hits paramedicine program

Marc-André Périard, chief of paramedics and United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) emergency services director, issued a notice November 17 about a « cybersecurity incident » within the infrastrucure of the UCPR Paramedic Services’ information technology service provider.

« The service provider is still working on the system, » said Périard during a Friday follow-up phone interview. The security breach has affected other paramedic services in other parts of Ontario.

The attempted cybersecurity breach has resulted in a temporary and voluntary shutdown of the electronic health record management system that deals with the UCPR Paramedic Services’ community paramedicine program. This program provides at-home call service by paramedics for people who need blood tests and other follow-up diagnostic services but may not be able to see their family doctor or go to the nearest medical or hospital clinic for the procedures.

Shutting down the electronic health record management system means that the UCPR Paramedic Services does not have access to its appointments calendar data file for people scheduled for paramedic visits. The Paramedic Services can still maintain its community paramedicine program but residents in the Prescott-Russell region must either phone or send an email to schedule a paramedic visit.

Périard noted that anyone who already has a paramedic visit scheduled should either phone or email Paramedic Services with a reminder of the date, time, and location for the visit.

Residents can book an appointment or notify Paramedic Services of an already-scheduled appointment by phone to 613-662-2084 or by email to paramediccommunautaire@prescott-russell.on.ca.

Périard also affirmed that the cybersecurity breach attempt does not affect the Paramedic Services’ regular operations. Ambulance units will respond to all 911 and other emergency calls as usual.

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