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The Cost of Unplanned EHR Disruptions in Healthcare Organizations

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January 23, 2017
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Creating a Cybersecurity Framework for High Availability

According to the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG), nearly 60% of hospitals have experienced an EHR outage. All EHR systems have scheduled maintenance events, as well as unscheduled outages, requiring caregivers to go back to temporarily “paper charts” and manual workflows to deliver patient care. However, many organizations don’t have a solid disaster recovery (DR) plan that incorporates working without an EHR or tells caregivers what to do when and if the lights go out.  Working without an EHR requires more patience, more analysis, more discipline, and more care to do it right the first time. A computer will never “see” the pallor in someone’s skin or “hear” a person breathing.  Much like the maintenance rounds Peak 10’s support engineers perform on-premise in the data center, caregivers are using all their senses to deliver quality outcomes. EHR systems are repositories of critical patient information, which reflect the continuum of care.  No EHR or computer can fill in when a human touch or comfort is needed, especially during loss of life. How do you put a price tag on that? Life is priceless, with or without an EHR.

What are some ways you can reduce the risks of EHR disruptions? While the OIG recommends that healthcare organizations put HIPAA compliance practices in place, such as updating their contingency plan and instituting a cybersecurity framework, healthcare organizations should also choose an EHR system that maximizes clinician effectiveness with maximum human intervention, and built-in redundancy.  Then, train employees on an ongoing basis so they know how to function under pressure when, not if, the EHR system goes offline. By selecting an IaaS provider who understands the unique demands of healthcare, you’ll have a team of experts that know the critical importance of both uptime and downtime of EHR systems.

To read more on how to ensure availability of your EHR systems, check out this article from Healthcare IT News.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
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Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest