Providers: Test your EHR backup plan frequently

Physicians need to ensure that they are properly backing up the data in their electronic health record systems, and also know how to restore that data, according to an American Medical News article

Practices, the article asserts, should "assume" that their software or hardware will suffer a problem due to a computer glitch or natural disaster, and need an alternative means to ensure that patient information is kept safe. 

Several recommendations made in the article include: 

  • If you maintain data on servers in your office, be sure to back up that data via offsite storage, either at a different physical location or in the cloud
  • Test the backup plan to make sure it works, ideally before signing on with the vendor that's providing the backup
  • Obtain proof from the vendor that the backup system is working
  • Conduct your own drill of the system
  • Identify ways to optimize efficiency in the backup plan. 

Recent incidents have shown that having a working backup system for EHR data is critical for patient continuity of care. Hospitals in the New York-area with backup EHR systems fared much better after hurricane Sandy than those without such systems. Patients who were being treated at Oklahoma's Moore Medical Center, which was destroyed in last month's tornado, were able to access their EHRs at other facilities because the hospital had backed up the data in the regional health information organization. 

To learn more:
- read the article  

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