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13 Jan 2022

How to Reduce Downtime to Keep Data Insights Flowing

By Christopher Cage and Teresa Soman

In a study of patient safety incidents that occurred during an EHR system outage, most events were found to be associated with lab orders and results, followed by medication ordering and administration. Lab and medication orders can rely heavily on data from patient monitoring devices at the bedside. If health IT systems are down, clinicians will not have access to complete information from medical devices to order labs, medications or deliver an intervention.

Downtime can drive a significant interruption to the one thing on which all hospitals run: data. Information required for safe and effective clinical decisions needs to be timely and reliable. Whether scheduled or unforeseen, server downtime means clinicians must alter their processes for documentation and clinical decision-making. That, in turn, makes data management and team communication inefficient, and could increase the risk of delays or errors. Medical device data provides valuable insights on a patient’s condition, possibly providing earlier notification of the need for intervention.

As the value of data grows, it becomes a source of insight to other important systems – including research, alarm management, and clinical decision support. Given the constant demand for clinical data, scheduled downtimes that require clinicians to switch to other processes should be largely avoided. Highly available, clustered server environments can function as a failsafe for critical, point-of-care data. This is why many hospitals are adding such server configurations to their medical device integration deployments, providing uninterrupted access to data, including waveforms and alerts.

Even in an unplanned downtime, a highly available environment can mitigate the impact. If a server is breached, or requires unexpected maintenance, it can be isolated and removed from production quickly. Device connections would reconnect to other servers in the cluster, ensuring minimal interruption in the flow of data.

Increasing Resilience

When an organization builds high availability with clustered servers into their deployment strategy, it creates system resilience that makes for more reliable access to the data and unlocks the potential of medical device integration. This supports healthcare organizations in their overall drive to improve patient outcomes by building clinically optimized workflows and resilient operations.

The Shared Configuration and High Availability features of Philips Capsule’s Medical Device Information Platform (MDIP) offer resilience and aim to ensure a high level of operational performance, including uptime. The goal of High Availability is to minimize the downtime of the Capsule platform (servers, Neurons, etc.) and to ensure minimal interruption in the data flow. When a server goes down, Capsule’s clinical computing hubs and the connected medical devices previously assigned to it can reconnect to another server in the cluster, resuming their normal functions. This enables Capsule MDIP to provide reliable and timely delivery of live streaming medical device data for proactive, informed decision making.

RELATED READING: Expand Medical Device Integration to Drive Operational, Clinical and Safety Benefits

An Experienced Partner

To support medical device integration expansion, Capsule has a library of 1,000 supported devices that can be integrated with the EHR and other downstream systems, such as clinical surveillance applications, through its vendor-agnostic clinical computing hubs. In fact, 80% of the device integrations requested by hospitals and health systems are already supported across more than a dozen device types, including dialysis, anesthesia, intra-aortic balloon pumps, bed gateways, incubators and others.

Device connectivity with the EHR and other downstream systems is only getting started. Capsule can help hospitals and health systems achieve their clinical and financial goals through continuous clinical surveillance, regardless of their patients’ locations. Learn more about our medical device integration solutions.

About the authors

Christopher Cage is a senior product manager and Teresa Soman, MBA, PMP is director of product management at Capsule Technologies

Learn more about Capsule MDIP’s Shared Configuration and High Availability as well as the solution’s vendor-neutral medical device integration capabilities.