Understanding Data Backup for Clinical EHRs

Have you ever tried to back up EHR clinical data?  If so, you know that it’s difficult to do because backup often has to be started manually, and it’s dependent on a server that can go down when power is lost. So what do you do? Here’s what you need to know to make sure you select an EHR that will let you successfully backup and recover data.

If you are looking for an EHR that assures data backup and retrieval, here are things you need to know:

  • Make sure your EHR lets you back up data in real time. As you save information, it should immediately be sent to a server for storage.
  • Ensure your data can be retrieved when you need it in a useable format.
  • Any good EHR should let you retrieve data to create reports, track care, and measure success.
  • While not necessary, other great bonus features include guaranteed 24 hour server up time, SAS 70 security certification, and the ability to retrieve data.

If your data can be backed up in real time, you don’t risk the problem that most backup systems have – recreating days of information lost from backup paper reports, or worse, from your own memory.

What is the likelihood you will lose data? It’s probably near 100% (and no one likes to hear that). The reality is, power outages and network slowdowns used for internal backup systems can cause small bits of data loss that add up to missing or non-functional data upon retrieval. It’s not IF, it’s when.

Getting your data back when you have a data loss is even more critical. A backup system is only as good as it’s retrieval mechanism, and getting useful data, and getting it back quickly, is key. Your team will not want to use backup paper systems while restores take hours or days to complete. Some of you reading this have experienced this first-hand, having clinicians scramble for treatment notes, the billing department poring over records to determine who was billed before the data loss, and who was billed after it. For those of you who have yet to experience it, it is a giant time-loss for everyone, and it affects clinical care. Recreating data pulls all staff from their patient care and onto administrative and data entry that can take a few hours or a few weeks. 

A great EHR system that has guaranteed 24/7 server uptime means that you’ll never need to worry about getting access to your data, records or information. And you get the peace of mind knowing that you’re covered. 

Now that you know what reliable EHR backup can provide, you are ready to purchase a system that will allow you to quit worrying about data backup. 

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