How EHR downtime affects clinical outcomes

EHR downtime does not affect 30-day mortality rates, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

EHR downtime is a planned or unplanned period when the information system is unavailable, typically for maintenance and updates. Most hospitals and health systems have downtime procedures, though if these procedures are not followed or updated regularly, downtime can pose risks to patient safety.

Researchers set out to determine what, if any, effect downtime had on clinical outcomes. They looked at episodes of EHR downtime lasting 60 minutes or more in a six-year period. They collected data on adult patients who underwent a surgical procedure at least 60 minutes long and who stayed in the hospital for more than 24 hours. This was compared to data from patients whose hospital visit did not coincide with EHR downtime.

The researchers found EHR downtime did not affect 30-day mortality. However, they noted downtime could increase the amount of time a patient spends in the operating room and increase their postoperative length of stay, according to the report.

Read more here.


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