Why is disaster recovery vital in Public Sector Healthcare?
EHR’S as well as many other applications produce such vast amounts of clinical data which needs to be accessed in real time, that downtime is simply not an option.
Furthermore, as a result of the nature of NHS business, system and network availability is of vital importance. Not only for the running of the hospitals administration and record systems but to the point at which ICT is now delivering lifesaving treatment to patients daily.
NHS organisations, particularly Acute NHS Hospitals also need to be prepared for patient surges and the effects that this will have on clinical workflows. As the NHS becomes more and more reliant on clinical applications to deliver patient care the importance of infrastructure resilience also becomes very apparent.
A key step in disaster recovery planning is to conduct an impact assessment on all your systems and applications and determine the effects and costs of losing those systems and or applications. This includes assessing the impact to a patient’s treatment (both immediate and longer term), patient experience and indeed how to get patients released from hospital following their treatment.
Major drivers include the Contingencies Act (CCA) 2004 which places a clear obligation on NHS organisations to respond to disruptive challenges and to make sure that all organisations supplying services to the NHS are adequately resilient to respond to any threat. But also, ISO 22300 defines Business Continuity as the: “Capability of the organisation to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident.” A significant feature of this standard being ICT disaster recovery.
No longer can Trusts simply do the minimum to be compliant with legislation but they now have a critical need for comprehensive disaster recovery planning due to the changing landscape of Public Sector Healthcare. Gone are the days of paper notes and the only thing that can deliver treatment being a human being. The digital age is well and truly here with Hospitals and NHS organisations creating huge amounts of patient critical data every day and technology now delivering lifesaving treatments to patients. This must be backed up in terms of storage and resilient infrastructures to enable the NHS to keep saving lives in the event of a “disaster.”