Healthcare professionals regularly handle the worst – whether it’s broken bones, horrible abscesses, disease, or death. But that doesn’t mean they are prepared for all that can cripple their technology.
In 2011, one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history destroyed a large medical center in southwest Missouri. Fortunately, only a few weeks earlier, the regional hospital transitioned to Electronic Health Records (EHR). This was the biggest reason they were able to have a mobile hospital up and running within a week.
When rebuilding, the hospital invested $60 million in a high-tech datacenter. The datacenter was built to withstand natural disasters and other security threats, accessing alternate power sources.
Although a destructive tornado may not be a risk for you, it doesn’t take that severe of winds to knock out your practice. A large storm could leave your office in a foot of water or without access to power. Texas is no stranger to severe weather events, and healthcare providers in our area need business continuity plans.
Healthcare Business Continuity Planning
Most medical compliance standards call for disaster preparedness planning. Procedures need to be in place to avoid losing access to data. Record loss from a fire, flood, storm, or ransomware attack can lead to complications – or even death.
EHR or EMR, if you know them as electronic medical records, offer many advantages. They can:
- end legibility issues of prescriptions and reports;
- provide 24/7 access to healthcare records;
- reduce duplication;
- save time;
- help providers better understand patient allergies, medications, dosages, diagnoses, and treatment plans.
Yet digitization of medical records is only the beginning. Having digital patient files only works if you have continued access to the data. That means healthcare providers also need to establish:
- well-tested data backups (notice the plural “backups” there?);
- plans for remote access to data;
- alternate plans for communication;
- procedures maintaining copies of sensitive data in a sensitive and secure location.
Making Cybersecurity Readiness a Priority
Manage risk and prepare for disasters with a managed service provider (MSP). MSPs know the threats in the healthcare landscape. They can help develop a risk management and business continuity framework. Along with migrating records, they can support medical databases, provide backups, and set up remote access.
An MSP can put infrastructure in place to cut downtime and quickly get the healthcare provider back up and running. MSPs can also make everyday healthcare technology more productive and efficient – all without sacrificing security.
You already know that improperly secured information can lead to lawsuits and non-compliance fines. Don’t underestimate missing or incomplete data or downtime caused by a disaster. Avoid cybersecurity challenges that cripple a healthcare provider. Be proactive with healthcare continuity planning and partner with an MSP.