US-based non-profit Catholic health system Ascension has reported a suspected cybersecurity incident that has caused disruptions to its clinical operations.

The hospital operator has advised its business partners to temporarily disconnect from its systems as a precautionary measure.

After detecting ‘unusual activity’ on select technology network systems, Ascension said it had begun an investigation to assess the impact and duration of the disruptions.

In a statement, the health system said: “On Wednesday 8 May, we detected unusual activity on select technology network systems, which we now believe is due to a cyber security event.

“At this time, we continue to investigate the situation. We responded immediately, initiated our investigation and activated our remediation efforts.

“Access to some systems have been interrupted as this process continues.” 

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Ascension said its care teams had implemented procedures to ensure patient care delivery remains safe and experiences minimal impact. 

The health system has engaged third-party expert Mandiant to assist in investigating the incident and remediation process. The investigation aims to determine what information, if any, has been affected.

The appropriate authorities have also been notified of the situation. 

Ascension said it is proactively reaching out to its business partners to inform them of the incident and advise on steps to protect their systems. 

In its statement, the health system added: “Should we determine that any sensitive information was affected, we will notify and support those individuals in accordance with all relevant regulatory and legal guidelines.

“We encourage all business partners to coordinate with the Ascension Technology partners to address any specific questions.”

Ascension includes 35,000 affiliated providers and around 134,000 associates, as well as nearly 140 hospitals across 19 US states and the District of Columbia.

Last year, Prospect Medical Holdings reported a similar cyberattack that caused disruption to its hospital computer systems across the US.