Hospitals in the West Götaland region of Sweden have experienced massive hard disk crashes, with the cause not yet known. The problems have occurred over several weeks and are still ongoing, although less severe, according to staff.
The regional public authority in West Götaland that operates hospitals and health clinics said the crashes were happening right across the organisations they run.
The number of crashes have reduced, but problems continue, and staff are resorting to manual routines or moving workloads from affected computers.
The situation is serious and has worried patients and other members of the public, according to comments posted on social media.
West Götaland IT staff told Computer Weekly that finding the reasons for the crashes will have to wait as thousands of computers need to have their hard disks replaced.
“The computers that have experienced serious crashes are spread all over the West Götaland region, in every division,” said Thomas Schulz Rohm, press secretary for the West Götaland authority.
Maria Skoglöf, manager of the authority’s IT support centre, said the matter was being taken very seriously because many computers were affected. “The problem is not solved,” she said. “But the number of hard disk crashes has gone down since last week.”
Skoglöf said she could not say where the problems had hit the hardest. “It is up to every division to say how they were hit and how they solved it,” she added.
Staff have resorted to manual processes to alleviate the problems, said Skoglöf. “It is important to have manual routines to use when there are no computers available.”
Skoglöf said that as far as she knew, the computer crashes had not affected any patients’ health.
The West Götaland authority’s Schulz Rohm said that when a hard disk crashes, the same task that it was performing can be done by another computer close by. “This means it is still possible for hospital staff to access patient data,” he said.
“All the computers have been checked in detail and filed according to what they do for our operations. The more critical the service performed by a particular computer, the sooner the hard disk has to be replaced. All tasks are being carried out as they should.”
Rohm said about 11,000 computers would need new hard disks. “When the situation is normal again, we are going to sit down and talk about what happened in detail, and who has responsibility,” he said.
Computer forensics would be carried out in due course, said the authority.