Update: Sutter Health released a statement Wednesday morning saying that its systems were back up as of 2 a.m.
Below is the original story:
Sutter Health facilities in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and elsewhere were hit with a systemwide failure Tuesday, affecting patients' ability to make appointments, forcing cancellations of elective surgeries and delaying lab tests.
In Stanislaus County, thousands of patients are unable to schedule appointments with their doctors at Sutter Gould Medical Foundation clinics due to the problem affecting numerous Sutter locations in Northern California. The system failure starting Monday night caused problems with accessing patients' electronic health records, emails and phone usage, Sutter spokespeople said.
Patients calling Sutter Gould's appointment line Tuesday were told they could not schedule routine appointments. The outage also affected online appointment applications and some of the normal patient services at the 423-bed Memorial Medical Center in Modesto and the Sutter Gould urgent care clinic on Coffee Road.
Patients who already have scheduled appointments at Sutter Gould clinics were advised to arrive for visits with their doctor. The emergency departments at Memorial and other hospitals remained open.
Craig Baize, communications manager for Sutter’s Valley Area, said nonemergency elective surgeries were canceled Tuesday at Memorial; affected patients will be contacted to reschedule the procedures.
Baize said Tuesday afternoon that Sutter is working to get the phone and appointment-scheduling systems running as soon as possible. “Patients can call their physicians office periodically to check if we are able to reschedule their appointments at that time,” Baize said.
Sacramento-based Sutter Health operates a network of hospitals, surgery centers and physician offices in Sacramento, the Bay Area and the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Sutter Gould has more than 325 health care providers serving about 250,000 patients at locations in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.
Sutter Health spokesman Gary Zavoral told the Sacramento Bee the widespread outage was caused by an electronic failure after a fire suppression system activated in an information services building. Beside facilities in Stanislaus County, other centers impacted included the Sutter Medical Health Center in Sacramento, the Sutter Davis Hospital and the Sutter Roseville Medical Center.
According to Sutter, backup procedures were in place to ensure that emergency services and patient care were provided at the same quality as usual. Clinics remained open and staff were using paper records to accommodate patients who came through the doors.
"We have implemented our downtime procedures and are working to restore the system,” Sutter spokeswoman Leslie Meiring said. "Our services are open, although some services may need to be delayed or rescheduled.”
In the most recent update, Baize said technical staff were making progress toward restoring functionality of the services for facilities in Stanislaus County. He said updates could be released Tuesday evening on patients’ ability to make appointments with doctors Wednesday.
The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report.