Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Harbor Medical Group have entered EHR downtime after persistent issues with its health IT systems.
Washington-based Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Harbor Medical Group have initiated a period of EHR downtime after experiencing persistent issues with their EHR systems, according to The Daily World.
Issues with the hospitals’ EHR technology have become severe enough that hospital officials voluntarily entered EHR downtime protocol, forcing staff and clinicians to revert back to using paper health records during patient care.
According to hospital officials, the hospital remains open and continues to offer its usual services to patients. Grays Harbor Community Hospital Director of Marketing and Public Relations Nancee Long told The Daily World the EHR platforms first exhibited issues on Saturday, June 15. Hospital staff hope to resolve all problems this week.
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“The hospital remains open for business and will continue to treat patients with the same quality of care and professionalism,” said Long in a statement to The Daily World. “If you have questions about your care or an upcoming appointment, please contact the provider office with whom you are associated.”
Gray Harbor Community Hospital and Harbor Medical Group operate using separate EHR systems. Harbor Medical Group includes several specialty and rural health clinics. Grays Harbor Public Hospital District 2 currently operates both EHR systems used at all facilities within the Harbor health system.
Gray Harbor Community Hospital’s MEDITECH EHR system is currently fully operational but unable to share information with other health IT systems. Rather than sending test results and other information to outside providers digitally, Gray Harbor providers must call results into other physicians.
Harbor Medical Group’s clinics have also been affected. Providers and staff are currently relying on paper-based documentation. While these disruptions in workflow have the potential to delay the lfow of information, no clinic staff or clinicians have been sent home as a result of the stint of EHR downtime.
“Some of the schedules are not available so they are accepting patients as they come and scheduling out patients with a paper process,” stated Long.
Patients can still schedule appointments with clinicians through paper processes. Additionally, all hospital outpatient surgeries will proceed as normal. Patients may be asked to fill out paperwork about their medical history and bring medications to their visit to expedite care.
“This is not a deterrent to patient care,” wrote Long. “Offices have run without computers for years before now. It would be more of a problem to not see the patients who need care.”
The hospital is currently collaborating with its health IT partners to resolve the issue.
Abrazo Health Hospitals in Arizona recently experienced a similar incident when a routine upgrade of its Cerner EHR system spurred a three-day period of EHR downtime.
The system outage forced hospital staff and clinicians to revert back to paper health records.
Abrazo clinicians employed backup procedures in an effort to maintain operations during the episode of EHR downtime, but the switch to paper-based processes did result in delays in care delivery.
“They’re doing the charting but we’re having to tell them what medications he’s on, how much, when he’s getting them or had them,” said Victoria Miller, whose father was being treated at the hospital during the outage.
“It’s not the hospital’s fault but I wish that they had been more transparent because we might’ve had the opportunity to move him earlier and maybe the infection wouldn’t have spread,” she added.
Implementing a detailed EHR downtime preparedness plan is key for reducing delays and maintaining a high level of care quality during system outages.
Date: June 24, 2019
Source: EHR Intelligence