“Cybersecurity incident” disrupts Rideau Valley Health Center service

“Unfortunately, the incident is out of our control,” read a message on the clinic’s website.

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An cybersecurity incident continues to hamper services at an busy clinic in Ottawa.

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The Rideau Valley Health Center’s IT systems have been paralyzed, affecting the clinic’s ability to schedule appointments and leaving some of its clients dissatisfied.

“Unfortunately, the incident is out of our control,” a message on the clinic’s website read Saturday. “We are sorry to inform you that the underlying cause was a cybersecurity incident that resulted in our IT systems becoming inoperable and also affecting our telephone service.”

“We have contracted with third party cybersecurity experts to thoroughly investigate the matter and operate our systems as soon as possible. Based on the investigation to date, there is no indication that your personal information or privacy has been accessed or compromised. We appreciate your patience and cooperation in this thing. “

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This newspaper tried to contact the clinic on Saturday, but phone calls remained unanswered.

“Upon discovering that the incident had occurred, our IT team took immediate steps to isolate and secure our systems,” read the clinic’s website.

In the meantime, the clinic said most doctors will be able to attend pre-scheduled appointments, but that pre-booked virtual phone appointments have been canceled and that callers to the clinic may experience delays due to a larger than normal volume of calls.

“We have instructed local pharmacies to provide our patients with urgent supplies of their prescriptions if necessary,” read the clinic’s message.

“Please be aware that we may not be able to accept all urgent requests for appointments; You may be directed to visit another introductory clinic or hospital emergency department. “

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Chelsea Collins, a patient at the clinic, said the clinic’s services had been disrupted for several weeks. She first found out about the problem on Oct. 22, when she was expecting a scheduled call from her doctor, who never arrived.

She called the clinic and was told the systems were malfunctioning and no appointments could be made.

“They said there was no way (for my doctor) to call me. There was nothing,” she recalled, being told by clinical staff.

She called again on Friday to get an appointment and was told the systems were still malfunctioning. This time, Collins said, an employee told her, “If you want to see your doctor, you could try coming to an introductory clinic.”

But Collins did not want to sit in a doctor’s waiting room for what could be hours during a pandemic. She said the experience left her feeling “pretty upset.”

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“I have my name on another doctor’s waiting list,” she said.

A series of cybersecurity incidents have also affected other services in the Ottawa area. On October 20, a cybersecurity incident forced the Kemptville hospital to close its emergency department. The hospital announced it was dealing with a loss of essential services and said the incident was reported to the cyber crime division of the Ontario Provincial Police.

At a similar event, the city of Clarence-Rockland said an Oct. 25 cybersecurity incident affected its systems, but no usable personal information was compromised.

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