BEI Commentary: This is a rather long article, but the conclusion is relatively short and simple: once a practice starts using an EHR, it is dependent upon the EHR to be up and running in order to operate. If an EHR is down, essentially the practice is down. It is incumbent upon practices (and especially their IT support staff) to ensure there is a system design, with appropriate contingency procedures, for 99+% uptime.
From: AC Group, Inc., (Mark R. Anderson, CPHIMS, FHIMSS), February 2011
Government funding incentives (ARRA HITECH Act) to implement electronic health record systems (EHR) are driving most physicians towards the selection and implementation of EHR applications that are appropriate to their practice. However, even though the average practice takes more than 120 days to select their EHR solution, 87% of practices spend no time evaluating the service levels and uptime associated with these installations, instead leaving this important criterion in the hands of the software provider. Even when asked, some vendors avoid this growing need and offer no solution at all, leaving it as a point of exposure for the practice. Neglecting the amount of system downtime that a practice might experience could cost the average 5-physician practice nearly $25,000 if the product is down just ten hours during the course of a year. Therefore before selecting an EHR product, the practice should not only consider price, functionality, usability, support, and training. It must also determine the practice’s exposure to the potential effect of system downtime. This will impact the overall practice efficiencies, staff and client satisfaction, and the ability to provide care. Read More