Implications of electronic health record downtime: an analysis of patient safety event reports.
When electronic health records are out of use, either for planned upgrades or because of unexpected malfunction, this downtime disrupts usual hospital workflow. This study conducted an automated text search to identify incident reports related to electronic record downtime and analyzed the selected reports. Electronic health record downtime led to issues with laboratory testing including specimen identification errors and delayed transmission of results. Medication administration errors were also prevalent during downtime. Researchers found that downtime could hinder patient identification and information availability, which may result in serious safety hazards. The authors advocate for development of more comprehensive downtime procedures to address safety concerns as well as more consistent adherence to existing procedures.