Staff, clients worried about knowledge breach at university clinic | News

Unfastened community and cybersecurity with the challenge-plagued Medical center Info Administration Procedure (HIMS) that is gobbling up tens of millions in cost overruns has uncovered to hackers hundreds of affected person details at the University Healthcare facility of the West Indies (UHWI), a Sunday Gleaner investigation has found.

Although Superior Integrated Techniques (AIS), which is utilizing the job that is 4 decades past its supply day, has thrown the highlight on the hospital administration, one particular of the country’s major technology professionals insists the business has inquiries to solution.

The project to make the healthcare facility paperless has charge the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI) a lot more than $500 million, with no completion date in sight. Mona signed the September 2015 contract for UHWI, it’s teaching arm.

There is no easily offered information on affected person volume but the annual report for 2013/2014 pointed to around 50,000 folks observed in the crisis division and 17,500 admitted to wards – figures anticipated to have developed appreciably by now.

More than the previous month, The Gleaner has interviewed in excess of a dozen UHWI staff who interact at different levels with the world wide web-based HIMS, as nicely as various sufferers, right after observing a personnel being warned on moving into the technique that the “connection” to the web-site “isn’t secure”.

“Don’t enter any sensitive information on this internet site (for instance, passwords or credit score cards). It could be stolen by attackers,” examine the observe that appeared, as multiple buyers tried to enter the technique which outlets standard private and delicate facts these kinds of as patients’ names, addresses, phone quantities, fiscal and health-related info.

This was observed for a two-week period and was the major concern for the health and fitness employees who spoke on problem that their names are not included in the publication since they ended up not authorised to talk with the media.


The Sunday Gleaner requested a tour to view HIMS at do the job but the healthcare facility claimed it was “still remaining installed” and would difficulty an invitation when the project, that experienced an April 2017 deadline, is accomplished.

“How can you have a process that is dealing with client data and you’re having a message that the web page is not safe?” questioned a senior healthcare official, who claimed she and colleagues help the “intent” of HIMS but not the way it is getting implemented.

HIMS is at most wards and is partly performing in various clinics and departments, such as for X-rays. Observations and reports advise information are occasionally tricky to retrieve, and for billings, staff have had to vacation resort to the outdated ‘PIMS’ program.

Just previous 7 days, the process went down, forcing an “urgent” concept to division heads advising of challenges at the clinics, to use paper or reschedule appointments.

What looms significant for employees, nevertheless, is that security of the web site may perhaps not be secure and the possible for the compromise of client data at the region’s premier health care facility.

AIS spelled out that the pop-up is a “standard warning” that appears in the web site handle bar of a browser each time a user is attempting to join to a site about an unsecure relationship.

It acknowledged that a threat could involve communications in between the consumer and the web-site remaining intercepted by hackers, causing delicate data to be compromised.

But this is not likely to occur with UHWI affected person data, argued AIS in commenting on a picture of the warning this newspaper delivered it with.

Under no circumstances BEEN BREACHED

AIS reported HIMS’s web page deal with is private and not accessible above the Web and that the “not secure” prompt is not an sign of a issue or vulnerability with the web-site. It mentioned the procedure has never ever been breached.

“It’s the link to the web page that is insecure,” mentioned Shekar Sanumpudi, director of wellness applications at AIS, adding that “most of the end users are making use of HTTP (not secure) connections as a substitute of HTTPS (protected) to accessibility HIMS – therefore the concern. On the other hand, this provides no risk to affected individual information.”

HTTP is the implies by which a internet browser communicates with a server. In new periods, the protocol has been prolonged to ‘HTTPS’, with the ‘s’ indicating when the connection is secure and to reduce interception of details.

“Based on the fact that the software backlink is personal, this challenge does not pose any significant hazard to HIMS it is primarily a community configuration matter for the UHWI,” Sanumpudi concluded.

But it’s not just an problem for the clinic, countered Trevor Forrest, CEO of 876 Technological innovation Alternatives, a company specialising in web page structure, cloud internet hosting and doc management.

“When you say most of the users are working with HTTP versus HTTPS, that is not a choice for them. They never pick that. It is the site that dictates that response – whichever web-site you’re connecting to,” he argued.

“It is the server that you are connecting to that dictates whether or not the connection is secure or not.”

AIS has indicated that other than for radiology data, all other details collected as a result of HIMS are stored at its facts centre or on its servers.

“If you are in manage of the server that this application operates on, even while it’s on a non-public community, why would not you set SSL certificates on that box?” Forrest questioned, referring to the Secured Sockets Layer, a digital certificate that authenticates a website’s id and assures of knowledge integrity.

SSL has developed into Transportation Layer Stability (TLS), which seems as a padlock icon in world wide web browsers when safe connection is set up.

The stability worries are serious, Forrest explained, noting that whilst HIMS is on a non-public community, the devices connecting to it are also related to the Online, which is general public, giving options to insistent hackers.

The watch that an software is on a private community which minimizes the risk of compromise is a “common misconception” among enterprises, he mentioned.

“Your price is in the simple fact that you might have a big shopper that you have access to whose info is worthwhile. Hackers will not hack the protected thing, they’ll hack the insecure,” said the cybersecurity pro.

“I would not say it does not present a danger – a threat, albeit fairly remote but a chance exists. If you really don’t have conclude-to-conclude protection, the weakest url will mash yuh up.”

The UHWI, Forrest warned, also has get the job done to do to guarantee its networks are secured, an challenge he reported AIS must insist on to minimize its liability for any breach. The clinic owns the data gathered.

Medical center IS Dependable

1 client explained it was the “hospital’s responsibility to make confident my information is guarded. I really do not want to hear about a vulnerability like this.”

AIS reported it “constantly” reviews its security protocol, which it said is centered on many crucial components, together with info centre certification which got its PCI badge in 2017 for financial transactions and HIMS certification which has two approvals from the Worldwide Business for Standardization.

The PCI certification will come from the PCI Safety Benchmarks Council, which is a world wide forum that sets standards for harmless payments this kind of as for wellness insurance, for which AIS is very well known by way of its well being adjudication system.

Most of the critical stakeholders from whom responses have been sought are however to reply. From the initially collection of reviews, the UHWI has directed all concerns about HIMS to the UWI, Mona.

After the story broke on June 13, Mona indicated that it would handle additional inquiries in its evaluate of the HIMS procurement.

But in gentle of the knowledge security issues, this newspaper has pressed for a reaction but none has been forthcoming.

In a June 24 assertion, UWI Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles reported he questioned university management auditor Judith Nelson to “deepen an investigation into the UWI’s job in the project because institutional and general public accountability is a main expectation”.

There is been no update from Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton on his request for a brief from UHWI board chairman Professor Evan Duggan and the wellbeing ministry has not responded to several queries submitted on the HIMS issue above the very last thirty day period.

Without the need of certain reference to HIMS, eGov, the direct federal government entity on ICT, confirmed that the UHWI approached it in June 2020 to help with running “a several ICT projects”.

eGov reported “no even more comments will be delivered as we await a assembly with our customer to establish the way forward”, declining to verify reviews that it has critical info privacy problems with the HIMS and that given that the scandal emerged, its representative finished her assignment.


Professor Archibald McDonald, below whose principalship the controversial HIMS was procured, has prompt that the agreement be renegotiated in light-weight of the delays. McDonald is also the deputy chairman of the UHWI board.

The 2015 deal, which was inked as the Cayman Islands govt was close to terminating an AIS-backed affected person statements task, exhibits that Mona agreed to get HIMS from Wellness Administration Methods (HAS), an opaque St Lucia-registered company.

Mona paid US$1.25 million for the application, which is becoming implemented by the Douglas Halsall-led AIS that’s getting compensated US$600,000 in once-a-year servicing expenses.

AIS has a stake in Suvarna Technosoft, the India-centered organization that developed HIMS.

A 2018 UHWI venture status report was scathing of HIMS as showing up to be “still in development” with the challenge running outside of its deadline, above finances, fraught with complications with “massive customisations” being carried out.

The UHWI situation will come months right after the publicity of millions of personal details on the Amber Group-gifted federal government net-portal, JamCOVID, applied to process travellers to the island.

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