Having just returned from the eClinicalWorks Northeast Users Conference – a really helpful and informative conference of 1200 enthusiastic users – the IT challenges that face small to mid-sized EHR practitioners were never so apparent. Unlike larger facilities and hospitals with IT staffs and expertise, the small practitioners are jumping on the EHR systems IT bandwagon without a parachute – in other words, moving to EHR systems which, no matter how great the software is, will fail.

Why is that?

A standard computer is not designed for high availability and is going to fail. If it’s your family pictures on the disk drive that crashed, having your data backed up is critical. It’s different however for EHR – your system is down, the records are not available at the point of patient care, back up data may not be current, and introduces the very risks that EHR is supposed to avoid, like prescription error, false diagnosis, or even lost appointments, lost productivity, and costs.

Larger facilities that understand IT design their systems with high availability to reduce or eliminate the risk of system downtime before it becomes an issue. Stratus helps them do so and, as we discussed last week, we can help small and mid-size practices also implement uptime assurance for their EHR systems to avoid the risk of system downtime to their patients and their practices.

It’s like health care – yes, go to the doctor when you are sick and take your medicine (back up and recovery), but focus on preventive medicine (Stratus and uptime assurance) and avoid illness in the first place. This is the difference between backup and high availability.