EHR failure closes California hospital ED, nurses ask for investigation

Editor's note: A spokesperson for Antelope Valley Hospital has told Becker's Hospital Review that the hospital experienced a "rare information system outage " on Feb. 27 that was quickly identified and did not compromise patient safety. The spokesperson said the ED continued to treat patients at this time, "logging more than 900 patients over the weekend," while emergency downtime procedures were implemented. Becker's Hospital Review will continue its reporting and updates to this story.

Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Calif., allegedly shut down its emergency department Feb. 27 after the EHR and data system failed, according to a joint release from National Nurses United/California Nurses' Association.

The failed systems led to issues with properly dispensing medications, verifying physician orders, reviewing patient labs, MRIs and other diagnostic procedures, and led to an inability for clinicians to review patient records, according to hospital nurses.

Additionally, the hospital did not have a backup plan in place after closing its ED, the release alleged. "How many hospitals are compromising the lives of their patients by not having a back up or plan of action in place for a catastrophic event as this?" said Maria Altamirano, RN, a nurse at Antelope Valley Hospital, in the release.

The hospital nurses have asked the Los Angeles County of Department of Public Health to investigate the system failure.

This system crash closely follows news of another California hospital who recently reported a system shutdown. Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville, Calif., reported a system blackout in the end of February due to a burned-out heating unit at an off-site data center that failed to recover. Patient records were not available and email was not functional during the shutdown.

More articles on EHRs:

Long-term care facilities lag behind on EHR adoption
[Op-Ed] EHRs are essential to fiscal responsibility
Who's buying? 13 roles considering purchasing EHRs this year

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