Antelope Valley Hospital: ED did not shut down following EHR outage

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Last week, the National Nurses United and California Nurses' Association reported Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Calif., shut down its emergency department Feb. 27 after the EHR and data system failed. However, a hospital statement provided to Becker's Hospital Review said that these allegations are false.

According to the statement, the hospital did experience a "rare information system outage," but was able to "quickly identify the problem and immediately took steps to restore our computer systems."

Additionally, the hospital's ED did not close. "The emergency department continued to treat patients, logging more than 900 patients over the weekend. At times during the outage, certain patients were diverted to other nearby facilities based on their treatment needs."

The hospital promptly activated its "downtime procedures" while simultaneously working to address the system malfunction. This is contrary to claims made by the NNU/CAN, which alleged the hospital did not have backup procedures in place.

Consistent with Joint Commission requirements, Antelope Valley Hospital holds emergency preparedness drills and review its procedures regularly to ensure that its ability to continue caring for patients with minimal disruption regardless of what causes the emergency.

Information from the hospital assured that inpatient care and patient safety were not compromised during the network outage. The pharmacy continued to fill medication orders on a management system not affected by the network outage, and patient records and medication requests were completed using hand-written orders.

"Our team of professionals worked tirelessly throughout the weekend to process lab orders and results, review radiology exams, carry out treatment plans and deliver overall patient care as promptly as possible," said Antelope Valley Hospital CEO Dennis Knox.

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