“Sandy” is a nickname I attribute to my mother-in-law – a sweet, caring woman who also goes by the name of “Nana” and loves to scrapbook. Her demeanor (even when riled up) is a far cry from the meteorological phenomenon forecasters have dubbed “Super Storm Sandy,” which, as of this posting, has caused 50 deaths and power outages in 17 states affecting a minimum of 8 million customers, according to a Good Morning America report.
Sandy hasn’t impacted my environs much, other than to ensure that trick-or-treating will be a bit colder than usual this far south. While it hasn’t impacted me physically (other than offering a respite from ‘round-the-clock election coverage), I have, of course, seen a flurry of healthcare IT media around disaster preparedness, ensuring security measures when natural disasters strike, and the unfortunate lessons learned when hospitals don’t think to upgrade backup generator systems before super storms strike.
Amidst the news stories that have crossed my desk in the past few days was one concerning the orthopedic center where my husband is receiving treatment for his broken collarbone. The practice – the largest of its kind in Georgia – has decided to implement Merge Healthcare’s cloud-based Merge Honeycomb Archive to “store patient images and provide a long-term disaster recovery solution.” (Their words, not mine.)
Merge Healthcare’s CEO mentions in the press announcement that “imaging accounts for up to 90% of all data stored in electronic health records. Add in privacy rules that require storage of electronic health data, including digital images, and you see how the need to securely store and share medical images has grown – specifically in the cloud.”
I suppose when natural disaster strikes, a statistic like this takes on more importance, though I’m actually surprised that imaging-related data takes up that much space. Digging through Google led me to press releases from 2005 announcing the practice had decided to implement Allscripts TouchWorks EHR, but I’m not sure how valid that information is at this point, considering its age and the absolute maze of information I found myself in regarding subsequent Allscripts product acquisitions, mergers and shut downs.
In any case, I was happy to find that my husband’s physician has access to healthcare IT tools, and his information is up in the cloud somewhere should we ever need it, which makes me feel just a little bit better about his recovery.