Health systems battle workflow disruptions as Nuance continues Petya recovery

an open lock
As Nuance recovers from last month's Petya attack, some of its largest clients could be looking for replacement solutions.

More than three weeks after a global cyberattack struck several healthcare organizations, a software company that specializes in medical transcription services is still working to get its systems back online, forcing major hospital systems in Pennsylvania, Utah and Massachusetts to restructure clinician workflow.

Nuance Healthcare was one of several organizations hit by the Petya cyberattack that infected a number of industries in the last week of June. It was the second global cyberattack in as many months, impacting a number of industries around the world that were still recovering from the WannaCry ransomware attack.

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But it appears the medical software company was the hardest hit, despite the fact that one West Virginia hospital was forced to rebuild its entire computer network after the virus locked down the system. Large hospital systems like the University of Pennsylvania, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Intermountain Healthcare have been forced to find alternative transcription services as Nuance attempts to get its systems back up and running, according to Bloomberg Technology.

According to its website, “Nuance solutions transcribe more than 7 billion lines of medical data annually,” and the company’s software is used by more than 10,000 hospitals in the U.S. According to its latest post on July 15, the company was still hosting regular update calls for customers.

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UPMC CIO Ed McCallister told Bloomberg the system is using services from Cerner and Epic in place of Nuance transcription software. Intermountain turned off all Nuance transcription tools once it learned of the attack and Beth Israel switched to another Nuance platform, Dragon, which requires physicians to dictate into a computer rather than a telephone.

That could translate to significant financial losses for Nuance, which saw its third-quarter earnings take a hit, according to CNBC.

“The hardest thing for a clinician is a change in workflow,” John Halamka, Beth Israel’s chief information officer told Bloomberg. “If you’ve changed for a couple of weeks, you might not go back.”

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