Sutter Health's EHR System Inaccessible for Part of Monday

Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health's $1 billion Epic electronic health record system was inaccessible for part of Monday following a planned upgrade, according to a report from National Nurses United.

Clinical staff were unable to access the system across several Sutter facilities in California, including Alta Bates Summit Medical Center facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame, Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch and Sutter Tracy (Calif.) Community Hospital, as well as affiliated clinics and physician offices in the region, according to the report.

During the incident, clinical staff was unable to access any patient information stored in the system.

"We did not have information on the history of our patients. Nurses could not determine or administer proper meds when the system failed and the pharmacy backup system failed. If it were not for the nurses going above and beyond, it could have been disastrous," said Beth Sherry, RN, of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, in the report.

"I have been a RN since 2001 and have worked with many different electronic documentation systems. I have never experienced a system crashing like what I heard happened at Eden yesterday," said Eden Medical Center's Kevin Sweat, RN, in the report.

Sutter Health released a statement on Thursday, explaining the issue was resolved with a software patch on Monday and patient records were not compromised.

“Our caregivers and office staff have established and comprehensive processes that they follow when the EHR is offline. They followed these procedures," said spokesperson Bill Gleeson. "We appreciate the hard work of our caregivers and support staff to follow our routine back-up processes, and we regret any inconvenience this may have caused patients."
“Prior to Monday's temporary access issue, our uptime percentage was an impressive 99.4% with these systems that operate 24/7," he said.

“California Nurses Union continues to oppose the use of information technology in health care but we and other health care provider organizations demonstrate daily that it can be used to improve patient care, convenience and access. While it’s unfortunate the union exploited and misrepresented this situation, it comes as no surprise given the fact that we are in a protracted labor dispute with CNA,” said Mr. Gleeson.

More Articles on EHRs:

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The Case for Integrated Clinical Decision Support Software in EMRs

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