Now, there's this at the same healthcare system:
Computer system at West Penn Allegheny restored after crash
October 2, 2012
The computer system at West Penn Allegheny Health System crashed about noon today, temporarily leaving doctors and nurses to work off of paper records instead.
Kelly Sorice, vice president of public relations for the health system, said all systems have since been restored. She said the servers crashed about noon today when the system experienced a power surge.
Doctors in the health system keep paper copies of almost all of their records so they can reference them during power outages or scheduled maintenance times, Ms. Sorice said.
Some systems were up eight hours later and others were expected to come online overnight, according to a report at HisTalk.
Assuming the statement about "doctors keep paper copies of almost all their records" was not spin control regarding skeletal paper records, a question arises.
Why, exactly, spend hundreds of millions of dollars on computing if paper records are kept, and are perfectly sufficient to accomplish the following, the usual refrain in health IT crash scenarios?
Ms. Sorice said she did not know of any procedures that had been rescheduled and added that, "Patient care has not been compromised."
As a physician/ham radio enthusiast who did an elective in Biomedical Engineering in medical school, I also want to know:
1) What caused the “power surge?”
2) Why were the systems not protected against a “power surge?”
3) Exactly how did the “power surge” affect the IT?
Note: I've created a new, searchable indexing term for HIT outage stories with the usual refrain along the lines that "patient care has not been compromised."
See this query link using the new indexing term.
Addendum Oct. 3:
Australian EHR reseacher and professor Dr. Jon Patrick opines:
Even if [the paper records are] skeletal they suggest an endemic lack of confidence. I think the hospital spokesperson hasn't seen the implication of their statement.