Posted on behalf of Christine Duval, Marketing Coordinator
What keeps a Hospital CIO up at night? It’s one of those burning questions that every HIT vendor would like to know, and provide a solution for. In numerous interviews and surveys, the most common responses are cybersecurity, and downtime preparedness, two topics which often go hand in hand. As more and more organizations continue to adopt electronic health records, and rely solely on electronic data exchange, it’s not surprising that their main concern is being able to protect their patient health information, as well as ensure they are able to access that information at any given moment.
If a hospital is experiencing a ransomware attack, they typically cannot access their EHR or patient records for a period of time. It can be anywhere from hours, to days, to weeks.  With cybersecurity threats on the rise, hospitals need to ensure they have appropriate measures in place to help mitigate potential threats which could affect their ability to provide uninterrupted care for their patients in the event of an attack.
Let’s not forget the other leading causes of an unplanned downtime – natural disasters and system failures. Over the last few years alone, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires have caused astronomical damage across North America and the rest of the world.  Having an effective downtime solution in place meant the difference between, literally, life or death for many patients in hospitals in those areas affected.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the events that have affected hospitals just over the past few years due to an unplanned network or EHR downtime:

  • October 2017 – Puerto Rico’s Hospitals Still in Triage Mode, 2 Weeks After Hurricane Maria
  • August 2017 – Inside the New York hospital hackers took down for 6 weeks; Hackers took down the level one trauma center’s computer system for six weeks.
  • May 2017 – Worldwide ransomware hack hits hospitals; The ransomware attack has hit 16 NHS hospitals in the UK.  At least one surgery had to be postponed because of the hack.
  • February 2016 – A large hospital in Hollywood has enlisted the FBI and the LAPD in its fight against a cyber attack. The attack began last Friday. Hospital workers say the computers have been shut down after the hackers locked patient files in exchange for a ransom.
  • March 2015 – California hospital EMR went dark for a week; clinicians unable to access medical records and had to postpone serious medical treatments.
  • February 2015 – California hospital EMR went down after HVAC unit burned out… One patient had a positive test result delayed for two weeks and additional cardiac intervention efforts were delayed.
  • August 2013 – 24-hospital system EMR inaccessible for a day due to network problem. Even the backup went down… “families became concerned because they noticed patients were not getting their medications…”

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin

If your organization’s network or EMR goes down, how can you ensure that you’re still able to provide exceptional care for all of your patients? You need to have a comprehensive backup plan that will keep all necessary data available and easily accessible for hospital staff. Without the right technology in place, the ability to ensure patient safety and to provide reliable, up-to-date information is near impossible during any type of downtime. Not only is it important for patient care, it is also a HIPPA requirement, and downtimes can be extremely costly.
The Summit Downtime Reporting System (DRS) is a secure, turn-key technology platform that ensures critical patient data is available 100% of the time, and provides hospitals with an easy-to-use and affordable platform for business continuity. The software stores critical reports of key data separately from the EHR system and network, accessible whether your HCIS or Network is down, allowing information to be viewed or printed during any type of downtime. This ensures that an outage will not put a hospital out of service, enabling organizations to maintain care through even the most challenging of situations.
Summit DRS supports any HCIS vendor system, and is unmatched in affordability and technical features. If you would like to learn more about the Downtime Reporting System, please visit our website at, or register for our upcoming Webinar: Business Continuity & Ensuring Quick Access to Patient Data During a Downtime, March 15th @ 2pm EST.

We’ll be at HIMSS18 – March 5-9, 2018

Stop by our booth (#162) to see a Demo