Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Computer problems" force docs back to paper charts at Memorial Hospital - From June 11 until at least June 24?

More on the wonders and dependability of commercial health IT, as implemented in hospitals, which are generally an IT backwaters:

(Illinois) — Computer problems have caused Memorial Hospital ( staff back to the old days of using paper to chart patients' treatments.

The hospital's computer system, Meditech, went down late on Tuesday, June 11 and is not expected to be fully restored until at least Monday, June 24, according to the hospital. In the meantime, staff will be recording patients' medical records unto traditional paper charts.

"While the duration of this down time is unfortunate, all hospital services continue utilizing the backup process we have in place for occasions such as this," Memorial President Mark Turner said in a prepared statement. "I am extremely proud of the way our employees and medical staff have pulled together to maintain quality care and patient safety."

Once the system is up and running again, the information from the paper charts will be transferred into each patient's electronic medical record. The same standards for patient confidentiality and safety are being met, according to the hospital.

The computer problems are believed to result from upgrades added to the system in preparation for a major upgrade in July.

"The duration of this down time is unfortunate?"  This mission-critical system went down June 11 and won't be fully restored until June 24?  How is this even possible?  What, exactly, were their maximal-uptime, redundancy, disaster recovery and business continuity strategies?  Was there a natural disaster in that area I don't know about?

Regarding the hospital President's statement that:

"I am extremely proud of the way our employees and medical staff have pulled together to maintain quality care and patient safety."

I would translate that to read:

"Our IT incompetence is all on you, clinicians.  You're liable for any patient harm that results in the messy transitions from IT to paper, and back from paper to IT."

-- SS

Addendum - a question I've asked before - if everything is just fine, business as usual, with no safety impediments after reverting to paper due to emergency ... then why spend $100 million+ on EHRs?

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

They are being forced to work in a cesspool of care.

Anonymous said...

These devices are trumpeted as being vital for safety, yet, when they crash, the safety of patients is not jeopardized according to the hospital executives. Hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the second big (more than a week) Meditech downtime you have reported?

Anonymous said...

System unavailability occurs frequently. There are not any records of surveillance being kept on the deaths and injuries that occur during and after these crashes.

Reporting any such unavailability should be required in regulatory framework law.