The Importance of Data Recovery in the Healthcare Industry
Data recovery plans are an important tool for any practice in the healthcare industry. IT disasters happen for several reasons, and they are often unavoidable. System failure due to weather conditions, human error, and technology failure are just a few reasons an IT disaster may hit. Unfortunately, they can’t be prevented all together. That’s why it is critical to have a data recovery plan. It will eliminate down time associated with IT disasters, and help the recovery efforts for data loss. Healthcare IT solutions provide the answers to problems that can arise without warning in the industry.
Data Recovery Plans Eliminate Risk in Healthcare Industry
According to a study done by the Ponemon Institute, downtime in the health care industry can ring to the tune of $7,900 a minute. That does not include the possibility of life or death scenarios that patients face when a hospital or doctor clinic is debilitated by system failure and data loss. It is difficult to project an exact financial risk for a health care organization because it is not just money that is at stake when something goes wrong. HIPPA compliance, patient records, and patient lives are also at risk when an IT disaster hits the healthcare industry.
Unfortunately, data recovery plans are not usually considered when those in the healthcare industry write out their annual budget. Many organizations look to make as many cuts as possible. This often leads to the lack of investment in data recovery plans. So, what happens when there is no data recovery plan in place? The short answer is complete chaos!
What Happens Without a Data Recovery Plan?
There are many repercussions of not having a data recovery plan. For starters, this will slow down patient care as healthcare professionals have limited access to patient information. This often leads to frustration from healthcare employees and patients. In a world where most information is electronic, it is difficult to create a plan when disaster strikes since technology is always there to back us up. That’s why disaster recovery plans are set in place to create a plan before the problem arises, so we know what to do when it happens.
Another area of concern is patient safety. Since most medication information is accessible through an electronic system, it is a serious safety concern when patient’s drug information cannot be retrieved. Drug interactions, proper dosages, and time the medication was last administered can all affect a patient’s safety. When IT systems crash, healthcare professionals often lose access to imaging and records, patient portal systems, and real-time care information. They may also experience complications with storage, recovery, and security. Without a paper trail, it can be difficult to follow the proper methods of quality patient care.
More Than Just Finances
The effects of Healthcare IT disasters go far beyond just finances. Professionals can take a hit to their reputation. They can also leak exposure to patient sensitive data that can have legal repercussions. Without data recovery plans, healthcare professionals can affect patient outcomes, lose revenue from the inability to treat patients, and lose credibility among patients. In addition, the cost of repair and recovery without a plan in place can be expensive. As all these problems arise, the loss of business will continue to show financial damage. Legal costs, litigation costs, and penalties associated with HIPPA non-compliance can lead to hefty fees.
Bringing all these potential problems to light, HIPPA regulations actually began to mandate disaster recovery plans and risk assessment plans for confidentiality and availability of patient records in the event of an IT failure. Healthcare providers much have a plan in place to ensure access of records and explain how data will be moved without violating HIPPA rules and regulations. In addition, all IT systems must have an emergency mode available for data recovery, ePHI, and data backup. Regular testing of these systems is crucial to ensure ongoing efficacy. While some practices find annual testing to be sufficient, larger practices test quarterly.
Strong disaster recovery plans ensure HIPPA compliance and help healthcare providers prevent the costly consequences associated with IT disasters. As new technologies continue to enhance patient care and experience, they also open the door to cyber-attacks and the effects of lost or stolen data. With healthcare IT solutions, healthcare providers have peace of mind knowing that their practice is protected if disaster strikes.