By Phil White

Dr. Jayne wrote a great post for HIStalk yesterday about how some East Coast hospitals have been using technology to better serve patients in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

This is not the only flooding healthcare facilities have faced this year – the Missouri River has burst its banks at several places in the Midwest. And beyond flooding, there are other natural disasters that hospitals must make contingency plans for – such as the tornado that laid waste to much of Joplin, Mo. in May.

One piece of the disaster planning/recovery puzzle that’s often overlooked is electronic forms, or e-forms as the cool kids call them. In addition to being costly to manage, pre-printed paper forms are vulnerable to flood, fire and other hazards. And if the health information system (HIS) goes down, hospital staff members must register patients by hand and then manually input their information later when the system is back up – a slow process requiring redundant, error-prone effort.

In June 2008, the Cedar River burst its banks. Cedar Rapids, Iowa lost power, businesses and homes in the flood plain were overwhelmed and the basement at Mercy Medical Center flooded, with many of the facility’s paper forms destroyed or damaged.

To make sure it has continuous access to patient forms in any circumstance, Mercy Medical deployed the downtime registration solution from Access, as part of an enterprise forms management project. This will enable the facility to electronically register patients and retrieve clinical forms on demand in the event of another natural disaster, or even during scheduled HIS downtime. And as forms are managed electronically, there’s no expensive paper stock to put at risk.

“Now that we’re using Access’s e-Forms Repository we’re confident that it would be business as usual if there was another flood,” said Mercy Medical systems analyst Vicki Wittmer. “The Access solution is a vital part of our disaster plan.”

Click here to read Mercy Medical’s success story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Post Navigation