An academic medical center’s response to widespread computer failure
Keywords:electronic health record, computer security, medical informatics, disaster planning, hospital administration
AbstractAs hospitals incorporate information technology (IT), their operations become increasingly vulnerable to technological breakdowns and attacks. Proper emergency management and business continuity planning require an approach to identify, mitigate, and work through IT downtime. Hospitals can prepare for these disasters by reviewing case studies. This case study details the disruption of computer operations at Mount Sinai Medical Center (MSMC), an urban academic teaching hospital. The events, and MSMC’s response, are narrated and the impact on hospital operations is analyzed. MSMC’s disaster management strategy prevented computer failure from compromising patient care, although walkouts and time-to-disposition in the emergency department (ED) notably increased. This incident highlights the importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation. It also demonstrates the value of using operational data to evaluate hospital responses to disasters. Quantifying normal hospital functions, just as with a patient’s vital signs, may help quantitatively evaluate and improve disaster management and business continuity planning.
Charles D, King J, Patel V, et al.: Adoption of Electronic Health Record Systems among U.S. Non-federal Acute Care Hospitals: 2008-2012. 2013. ONC Data Brief. Available at http://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/oncdatabrief9final.pdf. Accessed August 1, 2013
Wise P: Getting to meaningful use. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, Phoenix, AZ, June 3-6, 2010.
Hoot N, Wright JC, Aronsky D: Factors contributing to computer systems downtime in the emergency department. Paper presented at AMIA Annual Symposium, Washington, DC, November 8-12, 2003.
Anderson M: The toll of downtime. Healthc Inform. 2002; 19(4): 27-30.
Valenstein P,Walsh M: Six-year trends in laboratory computer availability. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2003; 127(2): 157-161.
Nelson MC: Downtime procedure for a clinical information system: A critical issue. J Crit Care. 2007; 22(1): 45-50.
Beratino S: Halamka on Beth Israel’s health-care IT disaster. CIO. 2003. Available at http://www.cio.com/article/31701/Halamka_on_Beth_Israel_s_Health_Care_IT_Disaster. Accessed June 1, 2013.
Losefsky W: The efficacy of best practices in recovery from cyberattacks. J Health Prot Manag. 2012; 28(1): 104-107.
Haugh R: Cyberterror. Hosp Health Netw. 2003; 77: 6-7.
Ragan S: Mcafee aftermath-impact numbers and recovery resources remain. The Tech Herald. 2010. Available at http://www.thetechherald.com/articles/McAfee-aftermath-impact-numbers-andrecovery-resources-remain/10002/. Accessed June 1, 2013.
How to Cite
Copyright 2007-2023, Weston Medical Publishing, LLC
All Rights Reserved