04/09/2015 10:14 EDT | Updated 06/09/2015 02:59 EDT

Glitch takes out phones and communications at Saskatoon hospitals

SASKATOON - Saskatoon Health Region workers were running information around hospitals and some care homes after an internal network issue took out everything from phone lines to file sharing capabilities.

Thursday afternoon's outage at all Saskatoon hospitals and some long-term care homes affected telephones, medical imaging in x-rays, CT and MRIs, pharmacy systems and access to patient histories.

The region-wide issue was affecting the same systems in Humboldt, Nokomis, Wadena, Watrous and Wynyard.

Health region CEO Dan Florizone said they were operating in "a very low-tech mode" as workers shared information by copying it to disks or drives and then running between units and locations.

Florizone said patient care was not affected but it took a few minutes longer to share information.

He said 911 call service, emergency rooms, clinic services, and surgeries were still running as normal.

"We can do an x-ray, a CT and MRI. What's missing is that ability to network," Florizone said. "So an additional step of copying it on a CD and running the CD."

Employees of the network provider Cisco were working to solve the problem.

Florizone said a similar issue happened over the weekend when the network went down for under an hour. A temporary "Band-Aid" solution was put in place until a permanent solution could be found.

"We were left fairly confident where the Band-Aid would hold; it didn't," Florizone said.