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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Nov 6 2012   11:03PM GMT

Does a hurricane make for a stronger case for an EHR?

Posted by: RedaChouffani
Disaster recovery and business continuity

Hurricane Sandy recently passed the through the Northeast and left many residential and business areas in chaos. The financial impact is estimated in the range of $20 billion and climbing. Families and businesses felt the storm’s impact throughout its duration.

Several hospitals and health care organizations have been evacuated during and after the storm due to power outages and safety concerns. Many in the health care IT arena are evaluating how well prepared their organizations would be if they faced a similar problem, and most are working hard at attempting to get things back to normal.

The damage from the winds, storm surge, and standing water for days challenged every disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity plan (BCP) that was in place for many of the hospitals in the Northeast.

Considerable record losses due to the flooding were faced by facilities where they maintained patient records on paper. Those facilities are uncertain of their ability to restore operations to their practices and restore their patients’ confidence in them despite the loss of patient records.

The use of EHRs provides an effective way of storing clinical information as well as additional protections if the systems are properly deployed and DR/BCP are correctly put in place, because simply having digital records does not necessary mean the clinical information is protected.


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