Compuware survey highlights impact of IT outages in health

IT outages in healthcare settings compromise patient safety and disrupt clinicians, a survey has revealed.

The Compuware survey found the average length of the most severe healthcare information system outages in 2008 was 4.1 hours. However, 39 per cent of survey respondents said their most severe outage was less than one hour, with 19 per cent reporting outages of up to two hours.

Survey respondents felt the biggest disruption caused by the system outages was to clinicians and IT staff. Just 38 per cent said the biggest disruption was to patients.

28 per cent of survey respondents felt the system outages compromised patient safety, while 11 per cent said outages did not significantly impact on their service.

Craig Little, Compuware vice president of sales operations for Australia, New Zealand and Japan, said the results did little to break down healthcare professionals’ resistance to the adoption of new technology.

“Healthcare information systems are expected to play a central role in improving healthcare outcomes and reducing costs as the population ages and skilled healthcare professionals become harder to find,” Mr Little said.

“Yet many Australian healthcare organisations lack the basic tools to ensure their major IT applications can be relied upon to deliver.”

Mr Little said the survey results reinforced those found in a recent international survey commissioned by Compuware, which found 64 per cent of respondents believed poor application performance resulted in significant financial losses for their organisations.

“Australian healthcare organisations need to break the vicious cycle where the poor performance of existing information systems leads to resistance among healthcare professionals towards the adoption of new technology,” he said.

The survey also found 29 per cent of respondents had no plans to deploy end-user experience monitoring to improve IT service delivery. It also found just 32 per cent of respondents had deployed end-user monitoring tools.

Mr Little said these results were concerning, saying end-user experience monitoring is “the single most valuable” component of an application performance management solution.

“Without end-user experience monitoring, healthcare organisations are operating in the dark,” he said.

“IT departments monitor performance from an infrastructure perspective – like network and server uptime – they typically lack visibility into performance actually experienced by end-users.

“Without this visibility, IT relies on service desk calls, anecdotal accounts from end-users or manual stopwatch approaches to understand performance problems.”

About 90 Australian healthcare professionals took part in the survey.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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