Allscripts clients back online, but issues plague some cloud-based providers

In the wake of the SamSam attack, some of the cloud-based clients still have issues, such as a need to login multiple times.
By Jessica Davis
01:12 PM
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Allscripts has restored service to the majority of clients impacted by the outage caused by a ransomware attack on two of the company’s North Carolina data centers, company spokesperson Concetta Rasiarmos wrote in an emailed statement.

“We recognize this has been disruptive for our clients and are working around the clock to safely and securely return service to all affected clients,” said Rasiarmos. “We continue to work with the remaining clients to bring them back online as quickly as possible.”

[Also: Allscripts sued over ransomware attack, accused of 'wanton' disregard]

The EHR vendor went down after SamSam ransomware got into the company’s data centers on Jan. 18, which caused service outages to roughly 1,500 of its clients. After some services were offline for seven days, the company was able to get the majority of services back online on Thursday.

However, some physician offices brought back online are still experiencing slow access and login errors, according to Sultan Rahaman, MD, the owner of Family Medicine Solutions in Longwood, Florida, and a few Twitter users who reached out to Healthcare IT News.

"I’ve been very disappointed with Allscripts: It seems trite to paint a rosier picture when that’s not really the case."

Sultan Rahaman, MD

Rahaman said that while his EHR is back online, it still takes multiple attempts to log into the system.

“The login process is a little tricky,” Rahaman said. “We get an error message, close it, and try again. It takes about four or five times just to log-on.”

Rahaman’s four-employee practice runs on Allscripts’ Professional EHR PM. His struggle mirrors that of other providers, who have aired their frustrations on Allscripts’ customer message board and on Twitter.

Ohio-based Union Physician Services is one of the larger organizations to still be experiencing outages. While Union Hospital wasn’t impacted by the outage, nearly all of its physician offices are still dealing with operation disruptions.

Those Union providers impacted by the attack have limited access to patient medical records and those offices had to cancel and reschedule appointments. However, officials said they are still providing services for immediate medical care.

Union has not been provided a timeline of when services will be fully restored, according to the release. The provider has been running on downtime procedures since the outage. Union declined to comment further than the official statement.

[Also: What to know about the SamSam ransomware hitting Allscripts, hospitals]

But technology issues aside, some providers aren’t happy with how Allscripts is handling the situation.

While Rahaman said he can’t speak to whether the company could have prevented the attack, the fact services were down for seven days points to issues with preparedness and responsiveness.

“This builds onto a long track record of Allscripts history as being reactive and not proactive,” said Rahaman. “I’ve been very disappointed with Allscripts: It seems trite to paint a rosier picture when that’s not really the case.”

Specifically, Rahaman pointed to a few major issues with the company’s response. For example, while daily calls were held for customers since the attack, a legal spokesperson held the call and not a technology leader who could speak to challenges and timelines.

Further, Rahaman said it seemed like the calls repeated the same phrase every day, without many tangible details.

Other clients have taken to the company’s message board to air the same grievances, said Rahaman. “People across the client base are very shocked, very disappointed that their response was not better.”

And the unhappy providers aren’t alone: Boynton, Beach, Florida-based Surfside Non-Surgical Orthopedics filed a lawsuit against Allscripts yesterday on behalf of all clients impacted by the system outage.

The providers cite "significant business interruption and disruption and lost revenues” due to Allscripts allegedly failing to secure and audit its system to prevent the breach.

Allscripts declined to comment on the pending litigation. This story will be updated if more information becomes available.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com