Now that cloud Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems have become a standard in the medical industry, we are all learning to recognize the importance of uptime for the connection to the EHR. Although reliability has improved when compared to managing the complexities of an office’s independent, local-based server, there are still situations in which the linkage between the practitioner and the patient’s data becomes interrupted. To prepare effectively for possible downtime, best practices include system maintenance, data backup, and knowing how to troubleshoot the connections between your device and the patient’s data.
Thinking Ahead for EHR Downtime/Crashing
Cloud-based EHR systems like PrognoCIS simplify how healthcare providers interact with their patients by providing instant access to vital health care information. PrognoCIS works with HIPAA-compliant public cloud from Amazon to deliver efficient, secure, and reliable EHR services. To assist in providing transparent connectivity information, AWS publishes real-time information about service availability here. This site shows customers real-time details about any operational issues related to their cloud service.
Last Tuesday, February 28th, AWS unexpectedly broke down in an unspecified location in the U.S. The Associated Press reports: “While few services went down completely, thousands, if not tens of thousands of companies had trouble with functions ranging from file sharing to web feeds to loading any type of data stored on Amazon’s ‘Simple Storage Service,’ known as S3.” Although Amazon is the premier partner for cloud-based applications, there is always the possibility of downtime, which can result in crashes and temporary outages. Knowing what to do in an outage or crash situation and having the reliable support provided by PrognoCIS is the best way to ensure business continuity for your organization.
A recent study about EHR system failure conducted by Dean Sittig and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center found that 96% of surveyed institutions reported at least one crash over the past three years. This creates a burden for hospitals that rely on a paper system using physical forms and charts as a backup. Patients must be checked in, prescriptions need to be ordered, lab results need to be processed, and billing must be completed, all manually. There are more frequent discrepancies when using paper records, which impedes progress.
Even the shortest outage can delay in proceedings, potentially leading to millions of dollars in losses. However, there are several ways that hospitals and practices can try to prevent and prepare for such an incident:
- Maintenance: Basic maintenance can help safeguard against overloaded systems, malware threats, etc.
- Backup of data: All information should be periodically saved on backup servers in case of a power outage or system crash. It’s also important to check on the backups to make sure that they’re functional. For cloud-based PrognoCIS EHR customers, this is included in our service.
- Connectivity: If a third party vendor runs the EHR system, resolving any likely connectivity issues should be a priority. In other words, if the practice’s internet connection is disconnected due to a local internet service provider’s issue, the EHR support service would only remain to wait to provide data.
- Practice: Holding drills to ensure that all personnel is familiar with downtime protocol can be advantageous for the hospital or practice in the case of a real situation.
PrognoCIS also delivers a variety of support services to assist your organization with any problem that may occur.
When logged into PrognoCIS, an online Resource Center with training tools such as User Quick Guides, FAQs, and videos is accessible by clicking on the Resource Center icon in the software’s top navigation bar. Feel free to download this support guide for an additional desktop reference for the simple steps to generate a support case through the Resource Center.
For PrognoCIS members who require additional assistance beyond using our Resource Center, we offer unlimited aid from our Support Team. Our team includes healthcare domain experts and technology specialists. Each member is equipped with the tools to meet both simple and complex challenges, from helping users set their software up for the required Meaningful Use elements to adding a new provider to the EHR.
The best way to contact the Support Team is to use the Resource Center to submit your questions or check on the status of an existing case. They can be reached by phone, online chat, or email.