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Survey Finds Healthcare IT is Tuned in to the need for Uptime Assurance as Industry Adopts Electronic Records

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More than 70 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed have either implemented on-premise EHR systems or plan to. The number rises to 81 percent when outsource EHR providers are factored in. While only 6 percent of respondents are in the process of deploying an EHR system now, 35 percent plan to launch an on-premise system within the next year and 37 percent within the next 20 months.

"The survey results show that the majority of healthcare organizations clearly recognize how electronic health records can reduce overhead expenses and improve patient care," said Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC. "They also understand that those benefits are contingent on maximum uptime, and where downtime would have the most serious effect."

Uptime's importance is clear in responses to questions about disruptions to patient care and important administrative processes. Only 11 percent said that inability to access EHR files would cause minor disruptions; 64 percent said there would be notable disruptions, mainly administrative; processing insurance claims and scheduling patient appointments were the most frequently cited at 67 and 53 percent. However, nearly half the respondents -- 49 percent -- said EHR system disruptions can increase the potential for patient data recording errors and 32 percent said it could cause errors in prescribing medications.

Despite the broad awareness of uptime's importance, almost 20 percent of respondents were still unsure how inaccessible health records would affect administration and patient care.
"It's heartening to see that most healthcare IT professionals understand their uptime needs, though we still need to be concerned about the 20 percent that doesn't seem to grasp the issue, or have yet to begin an EHR evaluation or implementation," said Nelson Hsu, senior director, Avance product line. "Uptime isn't a 'nice to have' in medical applications. If a healthcare organization can't see where interrupted access to patient medical records affects care, then they don't understand why they need reliable hardware and software infrastructures that provide continuous uptime. Without that, their EHR projects -- on premise or outsourced -- lead to business disruption and the potential for compromised patient care."

The full survey results, are available on the Stratus Technologies website.