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Leonard F, O’Reilly H, Blackburn C, et al. Learnings from a national cyberattack digital disaster during the SARSCoV- 2 pandemic in a pediatric emergency medicine department. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 17(e419), 1–9.

doi: 10.1017/dmp.2023.86


Objective: The primary objective was to analyze the impact of the national cyberattack in May 2021 on patient flow and data quality in the Paediatric Emergency Department (ED), amid the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: A single site retrospective time series analysis was conducted of three 6-week periods: before, during, and after the cyberattack outage. Initial emergent workflows are described. Analysis includes diagnoses, demographic context, key performance indicators, and the gradual return of information technology capability on ED performance. Data quality was compared using 10 data quality dimensions. Results: Patient visits totaled 13 390. During the system outage, patient experience times decreased significantly, from a median of 188 minutes (pre-cyberattack) down to 166 minutes, most notable for the period from registration to triage, and from clinician review to discharge (excluding admitted patients). Following system restoration, most timings increased. Data quality was significantly impacted, with data imperfections noted in 19.7% of data recorded during the system outage compared to 4.7% before and 5.1% after. Conclusions: There was a reduction in patient experience time, but data quality suffered greatly. A hospital’s major emergency plan should include provisions for digital disasters that address essential data requirements and quality as well as maintaining patient flow.

DOI 10.1017/dmp.2023.86


This research received no external funding

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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.