The chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has asked Nuance to provide more information about the malware attack that shut down the company’s operation for more than a month and left providers searching for a new transcription service.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who chairs the committee, sent a letter to Nuance CEO Paul Ricci, requesting information about the circumstances surrounding the attack, known as "Petya" or "NotPetya" and the aftermath of restoring functionality to its software.
The software company was one of the hardest hit by the attack and took more than a month to restore all of its applications. Several hospitals reported they were forced to find alternative transcription services, and some wondered whether it would lead to losses for Nuance.
“While Nuance was not the only company to suffer degraded capabilities due to the June 27 outbreak, Nuance's role as a transcription and dictation provider for a larger percentage of the health care sector sets its infection and subsequent availability issues apart and raises the possibility of more serious aftereffects for the healthcare sector as a whole,” Walden wrote in the letter (PDF).
Nuance was one of several healthcare organizations that faced disruptions from the June attack. A Pennsylvania hospital experienced disruptions from the malware infection and a West Virginia hospital was forced to replace its entire computer system. U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Merck was also impacted by the attack.
The request adds to letters sent by Walden and his former colleague Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pennsylvania, who resigned this month amid scandal, to Merck and the Department of Health and Human Services asking for more information about actions taken by the federal agency and an explanation from Merck about how the attack would impact drug production.