March 8, 2018
Jemison Internal Medicine, PC (“JIM”) of Jemison, Alabama has warned its patients of a secrecy occurrence that might have undermined certain private information. The occurrence is supposed to be the outcome of the criminal action.
On December 20, 2017, JIM’s computer system was affected by a ransomware virus that encrypted its electronic medical record (EMR) software having patients’ medical files. The ransomware required financial payment from JIM to decrypt the files and let the practice to regain access to them. JIM didn’t pay the ransom to the cybercriminals but instead detached the virus by reinstalling the operating system on its server and after that reestablishing its patient files from backup copies. Following scans of the practice’s computer system have proved no additional signs of the ransomware.
JIM’s probe of the occurrence did find, nevertheless, that the ransomware attack was started by an unidentified hacker who gained access to its computer system without its knowledge between September and December 2017. JIM has not found any confirmation that the hacker really accessed any files within its EMR system during the times he gained access, but it’s possible that he might have done so. For that reason, JIM has chosen to alert all of its patients concerning the occurrence out of an abundance of caution. In that regard, it’s possible that this illegal person might have accessed files in JIM’s EMR system, which include patient information.
JIM takes the safety of its patients’ private information seriously and has taken instant steps in reaction to learning of this occurrence, including altering all passwords to access its system and disabling distant connectivity to its system. JIM also is revising its policies and procedures and assessing other steps to further strengthen the safety of its patients’ information.
“We take patient secrecy seriously and are very apologetic for any worry or inconvenience this occurrence has caused or might cause to anybody who has been affected,” said Dr. Jay Patel, JIM’s physician.