Background: Healthcare institutions rely increasingly on digital strategies in patient care delivery over the last several years. The most prominent of these is the use of electronic medical records. The reliance upon technology can have significant implications when these downtimes occur. Lack of availability of the EMR is not only disruptive to organizational processes and patient care, but also has the potential for serious patient harm. Currently, there is a lack of clarity of expected downtime procedures based on clinical role as well as a lack of standardized documentation requirements across the institution. Due to these factors, there is a need for development of tools to assist the end user with implementing these tasks during system downtime.
Methods: A gap analysis of available downtime resources was followed by a survey of clinical staff to validate analysis findings. Based on the knowledge deficits, recommendations for evidence-based strategies were evaluated and presented to the appropriate leadership.
Results: Knowledge deficits among clinical staff of available resources as well as roles and responsibilities during downtime were identified. Evidence-based strategies to improve downtime preparedness were identified and presented to leadership of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. These strategies include development of ongoing education curriculum and development of just-in-time documents to support the end user during system outages.
Conclusions: Further study is needed to identify evidence-based best practice for increasing staff preparedness during system downtime.