4 Reasons Why Business Continuity in Healthcare is Critical
There’s a reason why business continuity in healthcare is so important
As more organizations make the transition to digital electronic medical records, business continuity in healthcare has become increasingly vital.
When disaster strikes, medical professionals must be able to regain access to critical patient data immediately. If the data is lost, stolen, corrupted or unrecoverable for an extended period of time, the consequences can be costly, both from a medical and a business standpoint.
Emergency preparedness is not a new concept to most hospitals and other medical organizations. But even the best emergency preparedness plans can still fall short of the IT protocols needed to keep highly sensitive data secure in today’s digital world.
Let’s take a closer look at the core reasons why business continuity in healthcare is imperative.
Importance of business continuity in healthcare
1) Required by law
Business continuity in healthcare is now mandatory under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The Department of Health and Human Services mandates that organizations must have a “comprehensive testing and monitoring strategy in place to prevent and manage [Electronic Health Record] downtime events.”
This mandate, as part of HIPAA’s Security Rule, requires technology and protocols to back up data, be able to rapidly restore data and continue operating in “emergency mode” after a critical event.
Failure to comply with HIPAA can result in government fines of up to $50,000 for each violation.
2) Saves lives
Consider a scenario in which a critically ill patient is in a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). She’s receiving a variety of medications, at specific doses, to regulate her heart and other critical functions.
All this information—what she’s taking, how much, what her latest symptoms are, which medications have worked, which haven’t and so on—is saved in her electronic medical record. But what happens after a disaster – a virus, flood, fire, power surge, or other event – disrupts access to that critical data. The consequences could be life-threatening, especially if access can’t be restored for days (which is common with traditional, outdated backup systems).
Having a dependable business continuity solution like Datto ensures that medical professionals restore this critical data almost instantly and continue to provide the vital care their patients need.
3) Protects sensitive data
A patient’s electronic personal health information (e-PHI) is often accessed from multiple sources, not only within a single building, but also across numerous locations and vendors. This increases the risk of data being compromised during transmission – due to a virus, malware or security breach.
Medical providers must implement technology that constantly backs up data and checks it for integrity. But also, that data must be encrypted to reduce the risk of it getting into the wrong hands.
So in the event of a disaster, organizations can continue to access clean, uncompromised data and maintain a high level of security over this sensitive information, as well as the security of the entire organization.
4) Maintains efficiency
We’ve already covered how business continuity in healthcare can literally save lives and ensure the wellbeing of patients. But it’s also important to consider the actual bottom-line business impact of a critical disaster.
A loss or corruption of data can be extremely costly, especially when recovery takes days or weeks. But there’s also the downtime itself. When the systems are down, employees across the organization can’t do their jobs as efficiently (or at all, in some cases). That downtime significantly impacts the operating costs of the organization. And the longer the downtime lasts, the more it costs.
With the right business continuity solution, healthcare organizations can cut that downtime to virtually zero and maintain operating efficiency after a disaster. Learn more here.