Tidelands reports computer system failure; doesn’t compromise patient info

A computer system failure at Tidelands Health has caused outpatient procedures to be delayed and ambulances re-routed earlier in September.

A company-wide computer failure affecting the entire organization, including Waccamaw Community and Georgetown Memorial hospitals, caused the company’s emergency rooms to go “on ambulance diversion for a brief period,” according to a statement from a Tidelands Health public relations official. It was unclear from Tidelands officials when the diversion began or ended.

Tidelands Health would not say how many ambulances were re-routed due to the computer failure, but said in a statement that ambulances could still “come to the facility based on patient need.”

The company said that it performs “hundreds of thousands of tests and procedures every year. The number delayed or rescheduled due to this downtime was very small - less than a fraction of a percent.”

Tidelands Health would not give a number for how many tests and procedures were delayed, but said the delay times were a matter of hours, not days.

Tidelands officials said no patient data was compromised.

A heating, ventilation and air conditioning system failure on Aug. 31 “led to intermittent computer system issues, including a hardware malfunction in mid-September,” according to a statement from Tidelands. In another statement on Monday, the company said it was still experiencing problems as of last week, but that it has “restored the majority of systems.”

The South Carolina Department of Environmental Control confirmed that there have been two complaints made against the Waccamaw location of Tidelands Health in the last 12 months. One complaint investigated in September 2015 found no violations. The other complaint, in which a date was not released, is still under review and the department says it will not comment further until the investigation has been completed.

The department reported no recent complaints against the Georgetown location.

Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian