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Published in: Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) 2/2024

22-09-2023 | Original Article

Survey of Laboratory Medicine’s national response to the HSE cyberattack in the Republic of Ireland

Authors: Catriona Duffy, Caroline Murray, Gerard Boran, Rama Srinivasan, Anne Kane, Ann Leonard

Published in: Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) | Issue 2/2024

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Abstract

Background

On Friday 14 May 2021, the Health Service Executive (HSE) was subjected to a serious cyberattack on their information technology (IT) infrastructure. Healthcare workers lost access to HSE-provided clinical and non-clinical IT systems, including laboratory systems.

Aim

The aim of this national survey was to capture Laboratory Medicine’s response across the Republic of Ireland during the HSE cyberattack.

Method

An electronic survey developed using Microsoft Forms® was emailed on 24 September 2021 to 58 local representatives of the PeriAnalytic and Laboratory Medicine Society (PALMSoc).

Results

The survey was sent to 43 clinical laboratories across the Republic of Ireland. A total of 41 responses from 43 laboratories across all laboratory disciplines were received (95% response rate). From these, 55% did not have access to a functioning LIS, with 56% of these not having access to a LIS for greater than 2 weeks. A decrease in specimen requests received during this period was reported by 74% of laboratories, with 32% experiencing a reduction that lasted in excess of one month. Over half of the laboratories (55%) experienced a reduction of > 30% in requests, indicating that clinicians stopped investigating patients (87% reduction in primary care), further escalating the disruption to healthcare.

Conclusion

The cyberattack burdened the HSE and laboratories at a time when healthcare staffs were coming to terms with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the survey confirms the agility of laboratory staff in meeting the demands placed on it during this time.
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Metadata
Title
Survey of Laboratory Medicine’s national response to the HSE cyberattack in the Republic of Ireland
Authors
Catriona Duffy
Caroline Murray
Gerard Boran
Rama Srinivasan
Anne Kane
Ann Leonard
Publication date
22-09-2023
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Published in
Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) / Issue 2/2024
Print ISSN: 0021-1265
Electronic ISSN: 1863-4362
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-023-03511-6

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