Preparation is Key: Audit Your Downtime Procedures

10 April 2023

AUTHORED BY: Cally Kobza

The healthcare landscape constantly evolves, encountering new challenges and more significant complexities daily. Ensuring your healthcare organization’s continued success means evaluating its downtime procedures and determining if they are up to par. An in-depth audit assessment ensures your organization’s uptime and resiliency.

EHR downtime can mean loss of revenue, disrupted patient care, and even fines from regulators. That’s why hospitals need an all-encompassing audit assessment that will help identify any vulnerabilities within the organization. This post will discuss how dbtech can help your healthcare organization prepare with our comprehensive audit assessment.

Auditing Downtime Procedures is Critical for Risk Mitigation

Preparing for unexpected EHR downtime is crucial for maintaining patient care and meeting compliance standards. The valuable audit insights gained will enable you to validate procedure effectiveness, optimize the preemptive response, and ultimately safeguard patient wellbeing.

However, before a system audit, hospitals and healthcare organizations should ask questions such as “do these procedures cover the hospital during both network and EHR downtime?” And “do these procedures cover the hospital during scheduled downtime and unplanned downtime?”

These worthwhile considerations will help to increase staff awareness and staff preparedness in the event of EHR downtime. Moreover, an audit will enable hospitals to identify critical systems and applications most vulnerable during downtime, allowing them to prioritize resources and efforts accordingly.

Items That Require Review During a Downtime Procedure Audit

A careful review of downtime procedures during an audit includes identifying gaps or areas for process improvement. Further, a risk assessment should be conducted to determine the impact of downtime on critical systems, applications, and, most importantly, its impact on patient care.

Hospital staff should also consider where critical documentation resides during downtime, as patient information on paper is at risk of not making it back into the EHR. For this reason, a designated person should be responsible for scanning and entering all paper documents and data back into the EHR when the downtime event is over.

Much of downtime procedure auditing will involve measuring the effectiveness of existing processes and developing new policies and procedures better suited to tackle downtime events.

Here are some primary components of a well-designed downtime procedure audit:

  • A thorough plan that addresses all critical systems and applications.
  • Ensuring adequate staff training on downtime procedures, including communication and escalation procedures.
  • Mandated regular downtime drills and exercises to test downtime procedures’ effectiveness and identify improvement areas.

How to Determine the Frequency of Your Hospital’s Audit

An audit assessment with dbtech ensures that your hospital stays ahead of potential lapses in service. Some hospitals may require annual audits, while others benefit from bi-annual or quarterly assessments. To determine the ideal frequency for your hospital’s downtime audits, consider your facility’s unique risks, operational necessities, and regulatory obligations.

Additionally, hospitals should consider conducting an audit after major system changes or upgrades and schedule regular downtime drills to test and improve procedures. Preventative action creates seamless continuity of care even during planned and unplanned downtime.

What to Expect During dbtech’s Downtime Procedure Audit 

During a dbtech Downtime Audit, expect a comprehensive analysis of your hospital’s document  management processes during system outages. This assessment occurs over the phone, taking far less time to complete than if it were on site. It will uncover organizational strengths, areas requiring improvement as well as potential risks, such as the potential for misplacing paper forms like nursing notes. 

By pinpointing these issues, dbtech’s audit facilitates streamlined, organization-wide improvements, ensuring no vital patient information is lost during downtime. During the assessment, we will discuss questions and procedures specific to what registration system is used at your facility and how these procedures change in the event of downtime, for example, moving to a paper form workflow. Moreover, we’ll inquire about how paper forms are handled during downtime and what your down time recovery process entails. 

dbtech: Mitigate EHR Downtime with Us

EHR downtime events can be disruptive and costly. However, with dbtech’s downtime solutions and auditing tools in place, hospitals and healthcare organizations can rest assured that procedures are running smoothly.

Our audit assessment is a crucial driver in improving procedure effectiveness as well as ensuring operational continuity and patient care during downtime events. With dbtech’s sound guidance, healthcare organizations can ascertain that service disruptions don’t get in the way of excellent patient care.

Schedule your downtime assessment today.

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