Physicians Nationwide Again Reporting Allscripts Service Outages

Ryan Black

As the EHR vendor celebrates its announcement of a major new partnership, physician staff across the country are again reporting service outages.

An Allscripts graphic adorns an escalator at the annual HIMSS meeting, which began in Las Vegas, Nevada today.

Allscripts just can’t catch a break.

On the day that the electronic health records (EHR) vendor is celebrating the announcement of a major new partnership, physician staff across the country are again reporting service outages. In mid-January, the company was struck with a ransomware attack the knocked out web-based services to hundreds of practices, causing outrage.

Many of the same practices that were impacted by the first wave of outages are reporting them again. One New England-based provider who had spoken to Healthcare Analytics News™ at the time of the ransomware incident confirmed that his practice is again locked out of its EHR system.

He said he had spoken to colleagues in Kentucky, Texas, and Connecticut who were suffering similar problems. He added that a backup system failure has locked up his practice.

The January incident resulted from a SamSam ransomware attack that hit 2 of its datacenters. The company said “roughly 1,500” clients were impacted, with some practices incapable of accessing important workflow technology—including their EHR systems—for up to 7 days.

Allscripts is currently enjoying widespread coverage for their Lyft partnership on Twitter, which was announced today in conjunction with the annual health IT megaconference hosted by HIMSS in Las Vegas, Nevada. Allscripts will integrate Lyft into its EHR systems, potentially making it easier for its 7 million covered patients to get rides to medical appointments. The announcement echoes a similar plan unveiled by Lyft’s rival, Uber, last week.

While the Lyft partnership is drawing praise for Allscripts on Twitter, some users in practices impacted by the most recent wave of service outages are again Tweeting their frustration.

“Yet another cloud outrage (sic). No EHR. Seriously. #Allscripts,” one user who also experienced the January outage wrote. “Outage...outrage same thing in relation to Allscripts!” another immediately replied.

The first outage drew a class-action lawsuit, filed on behalf of a Florida-based orthopedic group on January 25th in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

“Practices were shut down, many of them for as many as 8 days,” John Yanchunis, the attorney who filed the suit, told Healthcare Analytics News. “This was a major disruption for physicians.”

When SamSam hit, the company issued a statement saying that none of the impacted practices “were hospitals or large independent physician practices.” Many of the practices impacted expressed concern that that language was meant to downplay the problems they were facing.

“Their lack of proper communication and updates to their clients (as well as their servers obviously) has cost us a fortune,” Dawn Ingram, office manager of Starkville Urology in Starkville, MS, told HCA News in January.

Allscripts did not immediately respond to comment for this story. It is unclear if the current issue is related to the one that occurred roughly 6 weeks ago, or if it is again related to ransomware.

Related Coverage:

The Ransomware Ravaging Allscripts Is Precise and Potentially Devastating

Inside the 5-Count Class-Action Complaint Against Allscripts