Publication date: Sep 22, 2023
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. The aim of this national survey was to capture Laboratory Medicine’s response across the Republic of Ireland during the HSE cyberattack. 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). 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. 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.
|Microsoft||Laboratory information systems|