Though an F5 tornado heavily damaged the Moore Medical Center in Oklahoma, a solid electronic health records system left medical records accessible and intact at a time when doctors and patients needed them most.
When the devastating storm ravaged the city in May, patients had to be evacuated and transported to area hospitals. At the same time, residents injured in the storm were admitted to hospitals outside of Moore. Digitally stored medical records were vital in both cases, as discussed by Joseph Conn in this Modern Healthcare story. The records have been backed up by the regional health information organization serving the Oklahoma City metro area. The 7-year-old exchange manages 2.4 million patients’ records, and members include 26 hospitals, 99 clinics and 2,500 users – 1,400 of them registered providers.
A similar scenario played out two years ago on when an F5 tornado hit Joplin, Mo. St. John’s Regional Medical Center had transferred to electronic records just three weeks prior to the May 22, 2011, storm.
Both are real-world examples of digitized records transforming disaster recovery. And it’s happening all over the country. Dell Health recently implemented a medical image archive at the Maine Health Information Exchange, a solution that includes robust healthcare disaster recovery services. An estimated 1.8 million medical images are created annually in Maine, totaling more than 45 terabytes of data. The cloud-based imaging solution consolidated images into a single archive, a move that HealthInfoNet estimates will save Maine providers some $6 million over seven years through reduced storage and transport costs.
In the bigger picture, EHRs (and the related disaster recovery benefits) are a crucial piece of a digital healthcare ecosystem, an environment where digital information is exchanged quickly and accurately — an environment where patients are engaged, payers are connected, and providers are empowered. Ultimately, it’s about unlocking the data that fuels information-driven healthcare.
And that’s information that can weather any storm.
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