The Roper St. Francis hospital system has been dealing with a network outage since Saturday, but a spokesman said there has been no hack and patient records are safe.
Andy Lyons, spokesman for Roper St. Francis, said the outage was caused by a hardware failure. There is no timeline for bringing each individual system back online, he said.
The system's three hospitals, their Express Care offices and the Physician Partners offices have remained open.
Still, some employees in corporate service areas have been asked not to come to work. Those people will need to make up the hours on nights and weekends; management is also allowing employees to run their paid-time-off hours into the negatives.
The system employs about 5,500 people, according to its latest tax filing.
Lab results are being delivered to patients in the hospitals, but the system is not fully functional with outpatient lab testing.
West Ashley resident Peter Smyth has been going to Roper St. Francis for care since the early 2000s. Smyth said he injured his ankle while running recently and has been trying to get a referral for an orthopedic specialist this week. The injury isn't serious — he can walk, but not run.
Smyth said he found none of the Roper St. Francis Physician Partners' phone systems working. It took him days to schedule an appointment.
"Fortunately I'm not in a critical situation, but I imagine some are," Smyth said.
A spokeswoman for the Medical University of South Carolina said the outages at Roper St. Francis have not caused widespread issues but there may be difficulties with the lack of access to records.
If patients are referred from a Roper St. Francis facility to MUSC, for example, the MUSC clinicians may need to repeat tests and procedures if those results can't be accessed through digital records kept by Roper St. Francis.
The system's website, rsfh.com, would not load Wednesday morning, though it was booting by the afternoon. Lyons said patients can still schedule appointments by calling 843-402-2273.
"I want patients to know that we’re here to help them, and we’re open for business," Lyons said.
A spokesman for Charleston County said there have been no issues reported about communication with the hospital system from the county's emergency medical service.
Lyons said no patient information has been compromised. Ease of access to records has been affected, however, and clinicians have, at times, had to use paper records.
Operations have continued. The system had done 246 surgeries and delivered 35 babies since Saturday.