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What hospitals must have and should have when it comes to disaster recovery requirements and solutions

Posted by Rick Bryant on Feb 8, 2017 1:06:19 PM

healthcare it disaster recoveryPost sponsored by Veritas

What can critical application downtime cost a hospital? A lot.

Last year, Health Information Technology (HIT) surveyed hospitals across the United States on critical application availability. The results were unbelievable. Participating hospitals reported an average of 69 hours of downtime of critical patient apps at a cost to the affected hospital of $7,900 per minute.

Let that sink in for a bit. At $7,900 per minute, that would cost the average hospital $474,000 for just one hour of critical application downtime. Still, remember that the average is 69 hours a year. That means critical application downtime can cost a hospital over $32.7M per year.

In the event of an emergency, application and data recovery is crucial

Hospitals are considered critical infrastructure which means that in the event of a disaster (an earthquake or blackout for example), they receive preferential treatment over most other industries to quickly get up and running as fast as possible in order to service current and new patients.

Did you know that according to a CHIME poll, approximately 23% of healthcare organizations have no disaster recovery plan and 74% of healthcare organizations have little to no confidence in their current disaster recovery (DR) solution? If hospitals are affected by a disaster and don’t have swift and capable application and data recovery, then even with the federal prioritization they might not have access to key patient data or applications. Consequently, they may not be able to treat patients or share records with other care facilities.

Having an effective and tested disaster recovery (DR) plan can help hospitals confidently face whatever the future brings.

Regulations are requiring hospitals to improve information availability

So many industries are being asked to do more with less and healthcare is no exception. Healthcare organizations have a fiduciary responsibility to comply with HIPAA and JCHAO regulations and make patient data accessible to both the patients and to other care facilities. Unfortunately, many don’t have the money or technical savvy to put a solution in place, or have a solution but aren’t confident it could function as needed in the event of an actual disaster. That’s like trying to save money by buying a cheap cord when you bungee jump – is that really the best move?

Emerging technologies make availability easier and more affordable

Consider a nurse call system – normally one nurse (or a small number of nurses) sits at a command center and takes calls from patients and employees within their territory, be it a hallway, wing, center or even the entire hospital, depending on the size of the facility. If that system happens to go down, mandatory staffing ratios require more staff to be called in to manually monitor the territory. This costs money and is a burden on employees.

Hospitals need technology to treat patients – they need hardware, they need patient-critical applications and information, business-critical applications and more. New advances in cloud technologies and virtualization can provide resiliency on a storage level and at the hardware level regardless of platform. This heterogeneous or hardware-mutual approach can provide high availability and application awareness based on responsiveness.

What does that mean? If the nurse call system does fail at an application level, then a DR solution will recognize non-responsiveness even if the hardware is still working. Employees are alerted more quickly that there is an issue and can leverage technology to automatically fix the situation and continue on with their day without having to call in more coverage.

A hardware-mutual approach means patient care remains unaffected even during a disaster.

After all this, application and data availability can still be a hard sell

Having a disaster recovery plan in place is cost-effective, efficient and can improve patient safety, but many times hospitals only implement the bare minimum necessary to avoid being in violation of regulations. Changing this way of thinking requires some coaching and hard conversations. If you need assistance during customer consultations, invite a trusted IT solutions partner with industry and technical experience.

Tech Data and Veritas can help you deliver solutions that will work for and with your healthcare customers. Recovery solutions are available now that can put the right people, processes and technology in place. This can help hospital employees have the confidence to face and quickly recover from any disaster before it affects the business or patient care.


Tags: Security, Application Recovery, Data Availability, Data Recovery, Disaster Recovery Plan, Healthcare, Healthcare IT, Healthcare Organizations, Technologies, Veritas