Correction: In a previous version of this article, Healthcare Dive stated that the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, CA closed its emergency department doors after its EHR system failed.
- On Feb. 27, Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, CA experienced an EHR outage. According to a hospital spokesperson, AVH implemented a back-up plan at the onset of the outage and continued to see patients throughout the weekend.
- The hospital nurses have requested an investigation by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, claiming that the system failure led to an inability to access patient records, verify physician orders, properly dispense medications and access laboratory and diagnostic reports.
- In addition, hospital nurses claim that the outage resulted in an ER shutdown. "How many hospitals are compromising the lives of their patients by not having a back up or plan of action in place for a catastrophic event as this?" Maria Altamirano, RN, a nurse at Antelope Valley Hospital, asked in a press release from the California Nurses' Association.
EHRs are not fail proof, so it's important for hospitals to develop contingency plans that will allow them to continue to operate in the event of a system crash. This incident comes in the wake of another California outage: Yuba City, CA-based Rideout Memorial Hospital is still recovering from the fallout in the wake of a long EHR outage. The outage was triggered when a High Volume Air Conditioning (HVAC) at its data center burned out, causing the McKesson Paragon EHR to go offline.
The McKesson-built EHR was out for about a week after the HVAC unit died, causing a redundant unit to also overheat from the added load. Rideout CEO Robert Chason emphasized that McKesson's system was not culpable in the outage, and assured the media that the outage had little impact on patient care.