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Healthcare Disaster Recovery Plans: Staying Connected During Catastrophe

healthcare disaster recovery plans

Healthcare Disaster Recovery Plans: Staying Connected During Catastrophe

by Karly Orellana [1] | Jun 5, 2019 | Blog [2]

Are you familiar with the adage “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst”? How about “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”?

This is the mindset of drivers who keep a spare tire in the trunk of their car and have a 24/7 roadside assistance membership. It’s why businesses and homeowners install alarm systems at their properties. And it’s also why many of us purchase life insurance policies.

Disaster can strike at any time. This is especially true for natural disasters — hurricanes, floods, tornado, wildfires, and earthquakes. It’s not something you may want to think about, but everyone in the healthcare industry needs to address disaster preparedness.

If your health organization was forced to evacuate and abandon everything tomorrow, how would you protect your patients’ data?

PULSE: A New Healthcare Disaster Recovery Tool

One state that’s given that question a lot of thought is California.

Healthcare IT News explained in their article Wildfires: Data access in times of disaster [3]:

When it comes to responding to disasters like the wildfires that ravage California in the US every year, caring for displaced patients is hard enough, especially in the last two years that have brought record loss of life, destruction and chaos. It gets even worse when clinicians lack access to patient data.

Following the wildfires, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) oversaw the development of PULSE. PULSE, which stands for Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies, is a web application that connects existing HIE [4] organizations and other data sources during catastrophic events.

The tool is designed to provide healthcare volunteers with electronic health information to assist with victims and evacuees who are transported for injuries, are displaced with chronic conditions, need access to their prescriptions, and so on.

Corepoint Integration Engine supports several of the IHE [5] profiles that PULSE queries and can be used to access data in a disaster.

Corepoint Health also offers a Disaster Recovery solution to protect healthcare systems and their data exchanging activities during these times.

How Does Disaster Recovery Help Healthcare Organizations?

Corepoint Health’s Disaster Recovery [6] creates an off-site standby location for processing messages in the event of a major emergency that causes multiple servers to fail simultaneously at the main data center. It’s easily implemented in Corepoint Integration Engine [7]and allows you to schedule or manually run backups so that your organization’s latest configuration is ready at a moment’s notice.

If an emergency occurs, you would simply activate the disaster recovery site, which in turn moves your configuration to the standby site and starts processing messages so that everything is up and running without disruption.

Once the dust settles and the damage at the main site is evaluated, you would only need to update the original configuration with changes made at the standby location if it is recoverable. If not, the standby location’s configuration can be relocated to the main site.

Having the ability to move seamlessly between your production and standby disaster recovery environment with minimal disturbance reduces the stress and burden of a disaster, while offering your organization, stakeholders, and patients peace of mind knowing there is a plan in place.

Disaster Recovery aims to reduce the financial and technical impacts that disaster and chaos bring. It is the life insurance for all the health data pulsing through your healthcare system. The data that saves lives and helps providers deliver high-quality care in patients’ greatest time of need.

Because having a healthcare disaster plan as a safety net to land on makes it that much easier to recover and rise to the top.