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George Washington University Hospital recovers from cyberattack that forced operations offline

The IT network and medical record system at GWU Hospital were restored this week and the facility’s online applications are being reconnected, Jane Crawford, a UHS spokeswoman, said in an email. The hospital had its systems taken offline shortly after the cyberattack was detected.

Staff at the hospital relied on offline record-keeping while UHS dealt with the attack that affected some of the system’s clinical and financial operations, officials from the national hospital chain said.

Patients’ electronic medical records were not directly affected by the cyberattack, according to a statement issued Monday. There also was no indication that employee data had been accessed.

Crawford did not immediately respond to a request to comment on reports that the hospital chain was hit by ransomware. But the Associated Press reported that the company’s description of the attack is consistent with the type of malware where data can only be restored with software keys after ransoms are paid.

UHS this week has made “substantial progress toward restoration of online operations” across its U.S.-based hospitals, outpatient clinics and behavioral health centers, according to the statement issued Monday. The cyberattack did not affect UHS’s facilities based in the United Kingdom, officials said in the statement.

Despite the network troubles that affected UHS, staff at the Foggy Bottom hospital were still able to treat patients safely, officials said.

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Fitness and nutrition studio is making most of telehealth boom, expanding operations

Since the coronavirus began threatening people’s health and wellness, Jim White has seen a boom in telehealth and fielded more clients than ever before.

In this down and up year, the founder of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios is celebrating its 20th anniversary and opening a new location on First Colonial Road in Virginia Beach.

The expansion — planned pre-COVID — will take care of the growing pains the business had over the last 10 to 15 years and enable White and his team to help more people.

“This gives us the opportunity to streamline our processes and recreate our brands,” White said.

Two of the Virginia Beach studios – Hilltop and Great Neck – will relocate to the new space which White said is geographically in the middle of both. The one in downtown Norfolk will remain and White said he’s looking at other areas of Hampton Roads to invest in.

“When we first started we only had one dietitian and now we’re employing up to eight,” he said. “We realized when they come back – maybe November or December – we needed to have a bigger space.”

In April, White bought the almost 8,000 square foot building for $1.175 million. Approximately half the space will be rented to an eye doctor’s office. That still will leave him with more space than the other two Beach studios had combined.

Located on “medical row,” the new location will enable the business to more easily connect with physicians to help clients through nutrition and fitness.

“It’s going to open up a lot of creativity,” White said of the space that will be outfitted with new equipment.

An accomplished fitness expert and leader in the field, White’s resume touts a lengthy list of credentials, awards and honors, interviews (print, television, web, and radio), and public speaking engagements.

And even during the pandemic, White has remained dedicated to helping clients through the difficult days.

After closing the doors to his facilities for 70 days at the start of the pandemic, he said they were forced to diversify very quickly.

“Our registered dietitians were approved with telehealth so they’ve been working at home since March,” White said. “It’s been really big because a lot of people feel safe in their homes.”

One-on-one and small group virtual trainings were enabled so people could be at home while the trainers were at home or in the studio.

Outdoor training was also incorporated in March, April and May.

In June, when the governor lifted some of the mandates, White said they picked up a record number of clients over the next two months.

The boutique fitness studio attracted more attention than they did before the virus because many people were apprehensive about going to the big box gyms.

“Our nutrition side hasn’t slowed down since we started telehealth, in fact, we’ve had less cancellations,” White said.

White employs 27 people, including certified fitness and nutrition experts that provide tailored personal training programs for individuals

Major hospital system struggling to recover computer network operations after cyberattack

Universal Health Services, a large hospital system with more than 400 locations across the country, was still working Tuesday to get its network and operations back online after a cyberattack early Sunday morning.



a close up of a sign: A logo sign outside the headquarters of Universal Health Services, Inc., in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on June 28, 2015. Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***


© Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa/AP
A logo sign outside the headquarters of Universal Health Services, Inc., in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on June 28, 2015. Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***

“We are making steady progress with recovery efforts,” the Pennsylvania-based company said in a statement late Tuesday. “Certain applications have already started coming online again, with others projected to be restored on a rolling basis across the U.S.”

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The company said it “experienced an information technology security incident in the early morning hours of September 27, 2020,” and as a result it was forced to shut down its entire computer network, impacting patient data, laboratory systems and clinical information.

“Patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively,” the company’s statement noted, adding that at the moment there’s “no evidence that patient or employee data was accessed, copied or misused.”

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist at George Washington University Medical Center, a UHS acute care hospital impacted by the attack, told CNN it may take several days to reset the system.

“They proactively took down all, their entire network, to protect the network when they detected the attack and they’re working using these downtime protocols to maintain clinical operations in a safe way while they slowly bring systems back up online,” he said.

In the meantime, he said it’s a “big deal.”

Reiner said the affected facilities are back to using manual systems, which was once the norm, so patient safety isn’t necessarily a problem at all. “But it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal,” he repeated.

He said he had to cancel several surgical procedures Tuesday and added it’s “much more cumbersome to track down patient data.”

The UHS statement said its facilities are using “established back-up processes including offline documentation methods” — meaning pen and paper.

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