AHS suffers province-wide network outage

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Updates: Alberta Health Services (AHS) said again Monday at 7 pm the outage has been resolved and services are being restored. AHS also said it would ask a third party to review what happened.

Our previous story and details follow:

Alberta Health Services (AHS) says technical issues that led to a province-wide network outage have been resolved and teams are working to restore clinical systems, which may “take a few hours.”

“Services are carefully being restored with priority being given to critical patient care areas, such as emergency departments,” said AHS in an update.

AHS first alerted the public to the outage through social media just after 9am

At the time, officials said EMS dispatch was functioning with “back-up procedures” and the outage wouldn’t impact calls to 911, but Health Link 811 was only available in a limited capacity and users were warned they would see longer wait times than usual.

A senior official with AHS said doctors and staff at the hospital began using paper charts, whiteboards and phone calls to communicate with each other.

Dr. Sid Viner, vice-president and medical director for clinical operations with AHS, said the computer systems were largely down in hospitals.

Just before noon, AHS announced it was posting some elective, non-urgent surgeries until the outage was resolved.

Officials said all impacted patients would be contacted directly, and procedures would be rebooked as soon as possible.

“Emergency and urgent surgeries are continuing,” AHS said.

Community lab services were also impacted and saw a reduction at some sites, with AHS saying urgent results were being communicated by fax and/or telephone.

Then, in its 2 pm update, AHS said Health Link 811 was again “fully available” and wait times were back to normal.

AHS says it is reviewing the cause of the issue to learn how to prevent it from happening again in the future.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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