Temporary Power Outage Affects Dozens of Hospitals' Access to Medical Records

Dozens of hospitals across the country lost access to crucial electronic medical records for close to five hours during a major computer outage July 23, according to a Commercial Appeal report.

Cerner Corp. said "human error" caused the outage that affected an unspecified number of hospitals that rely on the company to store their medical information, according to the report. Roseville, Calif.-based Adventist Health, Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, also located in Memphis, were among the healthcare facilities affected, according to the report.

According to the report, no hospital or physician reported any harm to patients from the disruption. While the hospitals have downtime procedures in place, many expressed concern over the length of the outage and the delay with Cerner's backup system. According to the report, Cerner intends to implement additional safeguards to prevent future incidents.

According to the report, this incident highlights some of the risks that may be associated with health information technology. Last year, the Institute of Medicine recommended that an independent agency be formed to investigate injuries and deaths tied to health.IT. The Department of Health and Human Services requested the recent report as part of efforts to examine the unintended consequences from rapidly expanding health IT.

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