In the blink of an eye……it was gone. The motherboard on my laptop fried right after checking email and turning around to answer phone. Upon turning back, the screen was black and there was a loud and persistent beeping. What happened?
Now what? All my records stored on the lap top…….all of outlook that stored meeting dates and times, contacts that had been accumulating for two years, resources from conferences and meetings, power points painstakingly created and saved, documents stored, contract templates and countless papers and history….all gone.
As dependence on IT and the clear advantages it brings saves us all time and helps us be more productive….what happens if it all goes away because of an unforeseen failure?
Should storage of all important documents have been untaken on discs and stored outside laptop? But what’s important? What can be afforded to lose? What plan was there for disaster?
Everything was done appropriately; backups daily run, security programs installed and run routinely to check for viruses and other threats, updates applied when available, care was taken to protect the machine. Even routine cleaning to minimize done was performed. Still……the reality was, it was all gone.
Healthcare practices now have very sophisticated and complex IT systems: healthcare records and document storage routine. Appointment history and records maintained. Communication with referring provider’s accumulated and documented. Emails and notes carefully maintained. Financial records and account receivables all held in electronic media format.
And what is your practices plan for disaster? How do you protect the content of your practice in a retrievable and affordable way? With every purchase of new or upgraded servers, a well thought out disaster plan must be included in your strategy. Of course offsite storage is encouraged and a daily plan to accomplish must be thought through and paid for. Is there a plan to revert to paper for a number of days should you need to do so? (Perish the thought!) But what about the cost? What is the value of what is contained on laptops, phones, IPods, servers and other pieces of hardware? How will you serve your patients in a calm and orderly fashion?
How you plan for the future of IT within your practice must contain mechanisms to retrieve and duplicate yesterday’s activities as well as the gigs of data and health records stored. How to see patients routinely should a IT disaster strike must be included in that plan. Then of course, there must also be a plan for entering the data you had to collect manually while replacing, fixing the damaged hardware/software.
Of course, you hope that you will never have to use this plan…….but make no mistake……without it, you put the practice as clear risk for disaster.