Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Disaster preparedness, not a question of if, but when

Photo by NOAA
PARCA eNews – Sept. 5, 2018 – What would happen if your PACS system or organization’s IT systems become unavailable or compromised in such a way as to prevent clinicians from getting the imaging data they need to care for patients?
It isn’t really a question of If, it is a question of when? It might be due to a natural disaster, a technical failure, or malicious activity, but at some point your system will be down, but how you prepare for that will make a huge difference in how well your organization gets through such an event.
In a blog post on the HealthIT.gov site, Andrew Gettinger, MD and Justin Cross, MD discussed the essential steps that will help PACS and IT administrators minimize the damage of such unplanned downtime.
  1. Practicing drills, exercises and training are key to ensuring your organization can mitigate the potential impact to patient care and normal workflows when such an event occurs 
  2. Allow for alternate workflows to allow business to carry on. 
  3. Adopt a mindset that the mission is to provide healthcare at all times. 
  4. Contingency plans need to cover the full range of back-up options from ensuring backup generators function and have adequate fuel, to the proper training of employees on ransomware prevention strategies. 
  5. Ensure that both volunteers and healthcare professionals are identified, credentialed, and properly pre-authorized to access an emergency system that can grant access to patient health information. 
Disaster planning needs to get your organization ready for unplanned downtime by planning for communication, and carrying out adequate practice and training to lessen the impact and allow the organization to continue its mission of providing care for those that need it.

Source: ONC HealthITBuzz

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