Business continuity must be considered as healthcare industry turns to EHRs

The rapid rise of EHR systems in the healthcare industry has created a major shift in how organizations need to establish their business continuity plans. Essentially, hospitals need to shift from an extremely industry-specific strategy to one that incorporates all of the traditional healthcare practices with typical enterprise-class continuity strategies that can help ensure IT systems are kept running in the event of a disaster.

According to a recent Worcester Business Journal report, organizations working to implement new business continuity strategies cannot look at the process as risk aversion or a simple backup policy to protect data. Instead, business continuity needs to be approached as a process aimed at resuming operations as quickly as possible in the event of a disaster so the company can stay afloat when an outage occurs.

The first step in planning for a disaster is to consider the worst-case scenario. Unusual weather conditions, for example, can knock out a company’s systems and put it in a difficult position as it tries to recover from the incident. Therefore, it is essential to not only plan for the kind of issues that are common, but also for the unexpected. Furthermore, organizations need to put systems in place to deal with IT outages as well, as failure on the part of the network or other technological system can be extremely damaging if not handled effectively.

Companies also have to evaluate who will be involved in any business continuity strategy. According to the report, the answer should be just about everybody. Each department within the organization needs to be part of any continuity planning processes because each part of the organization will likely play a role in recovery or have systems affected by a disaster. It is also important that multiple users in each department are able to run the continuity plan effectively to ensure that somebody is available to complete the process.

When it comes to hospital-specific continuity programs, having technology and a downtime plan in place that are capable of operating in the event of an outage is critical. When disaster strikes, hospitals are usually at their busiest. Because of this, physicians need to have access to critical patient data, regardless of whether the primary power source, network or even EHR systems are available. A business continuity solution that can maintain key data availability under such circumstances is essential for hospitals.

The Summit Downtime Reporting System can address your immediate need to access your critical patient data in even the most stressful times. What’s your organization’s downtime plan for data accessibility?

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