Records system disturbance affects Boston Children’s Hospital

Practitioners should feel comfortable working with an EHR system but able to fill in if a disaster happens. Education can help with this.

The Boston Globe recently reported on Boston Children's Hospital and the shutdown of its internal records system, Children's Hospital Applications Maximizing Patient Safety, or CHAMPS. Although representatives from the facility say that they managed to work without significant disruptions to patient care, time without access to records could be a potentially serious issue for hospital staff, especially when treating children.

As the source described it, the hospital's staff were knowledgeable and responsive enough to survive this period without causing too many changes to scheduled operations. Only a very small number of events were affected, and the clinicians filled in the gaps in service by reaching out directly to patients and delivering important medical documents themselves. Providers work better with skilled additional guidance from hospital consultant services that will minimize risk in the event of a sudden crisis.

Boston Children's has previously embraced health IT options, which means that it is taking advantage of online resources while still utilizing the skills of staff members. In a press release from the company last April, the hospital announced that it was pursuing Substitutable Medical Apps & Reusable Technology (SMART) platforms to promote the use of health-related digital apps.

At the time Dr. Isaac Kohane​, the director of the Children's Hospital Informatics Program, said that healthcare stakeholders have to be a part of the ongoing effort to revolutionize performance through initiatives that will improve care.

"Following the government's $48 billion investment to promote uptake, more than 50% of care settings now have electronic health records," he said. "But to leverage this investment and transform healthcare into a data-driven enterprise, the medical-industrial complex must freely innovate at the point of care and with patients at home, and at scale."

Practices that partner with a physician consultant experienced in health IT use processes have access to education and performance improvement strategies, so practitioners feel comfortable using a records system but can still function without it.

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