Planned vs Unplanned Downtime

20 May 2022

AUTHORED BY: DB Technology

How Your Healthcare Facility Can Plan Either Way

When downtime occurs at your hospital, it can be challenging to recover. Whether it’s planned or unplanned downtime, there are items that need to be taken care of in order for your healthcare facility to continue operating  as fully and efficiently as possible. That is why having a downtime solution in place to control these scenarios is critical for your hospital. 

According to IBM, due to its nature, unplanned downtime is more costly, but planned downtime poses unexpected and avoidable business costs. Additionally, in a study they conducted, they found that survey respondents indicated that they “experience planned or unplanned downtime at least once a quarter, with close to half experiencing planned downtime quarterly and unplanned downtime bimonthly.”

In this blog, we will dive into planned and unplanned downtime so your hospital can evaluate how many times these situations occur and our tips for managing downtime.

Planned Downtime 

Planned downtime is scheduled by your hospital, for the purpose of implementing upgrades, running updates and dealing with configuration changes. Often these are scheduled far enough in advance to alert healthcare workers that a downtime situation is occurring. Even though this type of downtime is planned, there are still hours spent in advance planning, printing documents, locating forms. If your healthcare facility had an electronic downtime solution in place, much of the  prep work could be eliminated or reduced. In addition, if the planned downtime takes more time than expected, it could become more inconvenient and time-consuming than originally planned. Here are some items you can consider before your scheduled downtime takes place: 

  • Alert employees far enough in advance so they can prepare 
  • Distribute downtime numbers in advance to be used for new encounters
  • Print critical reports, such as census, schedules, meds, etc.
  • Print important documents, such as armbands, labels and consents
  • Schedule additional staff to assist with recovery afterwards
  • Ensure that staff on duty are educated on downtime workflow and procedures
  • Schedule downtime when patient visits are not scheduled or services are limited, such as late night/early morning
  • Schedule patient visits accordingly if some cannot be accommodated during a downtime event
  • Typically, have a general idea in advance as to the length of expected downtime

Unplanned Downtime 

Unplanned downtime is unexpected, due to circumstances such as system wide failures and power outages. These types of downtime are challenging to prepare for, which is why having a system in place as a backup can help  ease the pain if an unscheduled downtime were to take place. Below are items you cannot avoid, need to consider and are supplemented by having a downtime solution. 

  • Cannot print any patient info, forms, schedules, etc. in advance
  • Many unknowns, including length of downtime, and therefore amount of time and staffing needed for recovery afterwards
  • Also unknown is the extent of the downtime. Is it one system, more than one, or more significant, like a network outage?
  • Inability to ensure that staff on duty are educated on downtime workflow/procedures
  • Time of recovery is lengthy without a downtime solution. Often it will take hours, days or even weeks to re-enter data or recover

A downtime solution keeps your hospital running  no matter if it’s planned or unplanned downtime. An electronic  solution can mitigate the effects of downtime and give you access to information  that you wouldn’t otherwise have,    thus eliminating the  safety risks associated with treating patients blindly . At dbtech, our downtime solution allows for access to critical data (even historical data) and provides the ability to register patients electronically. You can complete and print all forms electronically, including electronic signature capture,    and you can scan paper documents into the application. After the downtime event ends, all information captured into the application can be exported out electronically and into your EHR (or any other system) allowing for more rapid recovery. Want to learn more? Contact our experts today. 

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