The 2011 Joplin, Mo., tornado points to why a disaster recovery plan is vital to protecting health data and restoring order after a disaster. Many hospitals are not learning from Joplin’s catastrophe though, as a BridgeHead Software report revealed that fewer than 30% of health IT leaders surveyed have tested disaster recovery plans at their facility.
BridgeHead Software, a data and storage management vendor, interviewed 158 health care leaders mainly in the United States and United Kingdom. The results found that despite 65% of health care executives saying that the amount of data in their facility has increased due to more information systems — such as picture archive communication systems, radiology information systems and electronic health record systems — only 26% implemented a “robust, tried-and-tested” data recovery plan. Also, 64% of entities had a disaster recovery strategy in place, though 38% had not tested it.
Those figures are surprising, considering the health data management report noted that IT leaders also are concerned that patient information can be lost given the unpredictably of disasters. Disaster recovery ranks high among data management needs for health organizations surveyed.
While the proliferation of data continues to grow in health care organizations, hospitals need to harmonize IT goals with a disaster recovery plan that can be tested regularly. Further, before HIPAA-covered entities can think about disaster recovery testing, the type of solution must be established, including in-house or cloud-based recovery plans, virtualization and proper data backup.