SOURCE: Stratus Technologies

Stratus Technologies

February 15, 2011 09:00 ET

Stratus Webinar Exposes Financial Risks, Costs of EHR System Downtime

AC Group Research Advises Physician Practices to Demand Guaranteed Uptime From Vendors

MAYNARD, MA--(Marketwire - February 15, 2011) - Ten hours of electronic healthcare record (EHR) system downtime could cost the average 20-physician practice nearly $100,000, yet 87% of medical practices ignore vendor service level agreements and uptime requirements when purchasing EHR system software. This is according to the 2010 Healthcare Technology Survey completed in November 2010 by healthcare information systems consultancy, the AC Group.

"Before selecting an EHR product, medical practices must also determine their exposure to the potential effect of system downtime," said Mark R. Anderson, AC Group principal. "Price, functionality, usability, support and training are important considerations, but uptime cuts across all of them. It affects overall practice efficiencies, patient and staff satisfaction, and the ability to provide care."

In a recent webinar sponsored by Stratus Technologies, the IT industry-leading provider of uptime assurance, AC Group's Anderson presented the details of his research. The findings are based on time/motion studies over a 3-month period to determine the average cost-per-minute of downtime for small, medium and large physician practices. Measured variables include actual man-hours, salaries, and workload by individual department in relation to the collection, reporting, organizing and dissemination of information. Key findings include:

  • The median cost of downtime across all practice sizes and specialties is $488 per hour, per physician.
  • For every minute of EHR downtime, the average practice spends 2.15 minutes performing tasks manually, in addition to the time required to update records once the system is back online.
  • The typical EHR-based practice spends 71.45% of total man-hours on automated information (collecting, reporting, organizing, disseminating); a non-enabled practice spends 28% of man-hours on automated information, but requires 48% more total man-hours than the EHR-based practice to accommodate manual procedures.

A summary of the research results is available in a white paper, "The Costs and Implications of EHR System Downtime on Physician Practices," authored by Anderson. The paper includes calculations showing the average annual cost of downtime expected for a given level of EHR solution uptime in practices of various sizes (5, 20, and 50-provider practices), as well as products typically associated with specific uptime levels. The white paper also includes a "cost per hour" tool that physicians can use to estimate the financial impact of downtime in their own practices.

"Every healthcare organization is in a great position to enhance productivity, efficiency and accuracy of service delivery and practice management through the use of electronic healthcare record systems," said Anderson. "To accomplish this, however, the organization must ensure that their vendor can guarantee adequate system uptime. In my experience Stratus is one of a very few IT providers that understands the true costs of downtime and, conversely, how to provide effective uptime assurance to protect critical applications."

The white paper, "The Costs and Implications of EHR System Downtime on Physician Practices," is available for download upon request at http://go.stratus.com/ACgroup_Paper.

Visit with Stratus Technologies at HIMSS11 (@Microsoft OEM booth #3101A), Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla., February 20-24, 2011.

About Stratus Technologies
Stratus delivers uptime for the applications its customers depend on most for their success. Using resilient technologies combined with proactive availability management services, Stratus products help to save lives and to protect the business and reputations of companies, institutions, and governments the world over. To learn more about worry-free computing, visit www.stratus.com.

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