6 Ways to Prepare for a Downtime Event

11 March 2022

AUTHORED BY: Cally Kobza

Downtime events can disrupt the continuity of patient care and decrease the efficiency of staff. According to multiple surveys on Gartner, a single minute of downtime can cost up to $5,600. Downtime can pose serious questions about how staff document patient care and how that downtime documentation is then transferred to the EHR after the systems are up and running after the downtime event. 

The best thing your organization can do to mitigate downtime events is simply to prepare. If you have a downtime solution in place, you’ve got a backup plan for scheduled and unscheduled downtime events, and your patients and facilities will be cared for as safely and efficiently as possible. In this blog, we discuss how your medical facility can prepare for a downtime event. 

1. Downtime Registration 

Timely and accurate collection and documentation of patient data is crucial during a downtime event. A system, or, far worse, a network outage can severely hinder the normal flow of information.  Having an electronic solution to use during any downtime event allows your organization to continue that collection and documentation of patient info.  Create new encounters, print forms such as armbands, labels and consents, and scan other essential documents, such as patient identification and insurance cards. The best downtime solution will integrate with your EHR for seamless export of all information after the downtime event has ended. . 

2. Beforehand Preparation

Downtime can disrupt and stop the flow of information between different medical departments as well as prevent access to patient records and documentation. Prepare all the essentials for any uncertain event in advance. Print out labels and required reports for the next day or at least for upcoming shifts. So, if any unfortunate things happen, the overall process shouldn’t face a decline in workflow. In addition, the distribution of clinical reports requires time; that’s why establishing a strategy to recover in real-time is vital.

3. Establish a Knowledge Center and Training

Establish a knowledge center to store essential cyber information. Before building a centralized information system, make sure your staff knows how to use it. A knowledge center can have some limitations and difficulty levels. Train your staff to operate such a system accurately by giving them proper planning. This knowledge center should include how to manage patient care and run the facility in case of downtime events. Train your team on the process and where to find the necessary resources to help them. 

4. Devise a Backup Method

During a network outage or downtime event, data can be inaccessible. Writing patient records down with a pen and paper is not a long-term solution to a downtime event. To have access to the patients’ records, medication reports, and census data, try to establish a backup method. For your backup, try using the e-forms, patient history, and electronic forms. These backup methods can ensure both the safety and accuracy of the data. 

5. Make a Robust List of Biomedical Equipment

Making a comprehensive list of biomedical equipment allows your healthcare facility to fight against downtime events. Prepare downtime procedures for each piece of equipment. Planning this helps your staff understand the underlying problems for each piece of medical equipment, so, these can be rectified before the emergence of a downtime event. Building a list of all of the equipment also shows what items your hospital has onsite, so you know what is available during a planned, unplanned or network downtime event.

6. Scheduling and Evaluation

With scheduled downtime events, make sure you plan enough in advance to give your staff time to prepare. Alert them that a downtime event will occur so they can ensure to schedule in advance. During downtime events, do a postmortem to evaluate if your team has everything in place to manage patient care and hospital workflow during downtime. If not, fix the areas where you need to adjust. Evaluate systems, check backup plans, and look for the effective implementation of your plans during planned downtime. This will help you regularly upgrade your systems and develop the most sought-after strategies that will practically yield life-saving outcomes during unplanned outages.

Though downtime events can be challenging for your healthcare facility, having a solution in place is the best way you can prepare for any downtime event – planned or unplanned. There are software solutions that can mitigate the effects of a downtime event, and dbtech offers one of them.

With our downtime solution, you can ensure patient safety, and save time and money with faster recovery from system and network outages. Talk to the dbtech team to learn how our solution can keep you up when other systems are down. 


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