(With apologies to the If You Give A Mouse A Cookie author)
If your Electronic Medical Record goes down (and your whole hospital is dependent upon it),
Then doctors can’t get labs and study results.
If doctors can’t get labs and study results,
Then doctors can’t write orders.
If doctors can’t write any orders,
Then nurses can’t do any orders.
If nurses can’t do any orders,
Then patients won’t get any better.
If patients don’t get any better,
Then patients can’t be discharged.
If patients can’t be discharged,
Then the hospital fills up with patients.
If the hospital fills up with patients,
Then there’s no place to put new patients or patients who get sicker.
If there’s no place to put new, sicker patients,
Then patients get worse, and you lose the whole point of having the hospital in the first place.
Here’s to good contingency plans, ’cause we all pretty much froze, opossum-in-the-headlights-style, today. How do we write orders? How do we write notes? How do we call consults? How do consults read prior notes and information?
IT people that work at a hospital: yes, your department now truly influences whether patients get better or worse, and indirectly, live or die.
(We had a ‘read-only’ version, which functioned reasonably well, but was far from optimal, to be sure.)