Sutter Health loses EHR for 24 hours in network outage

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Sacramento-based Sutter Health, one of the largest healthcare providers in Northern California, was without its Epic electronic health record system for more than 24 hours on Tuesday and the early morning hours of Wednesday.

The outage was attributed to the activation of a fire suppression system in a data center that caused “network downtime” at all 24 of its hospitals.

On Tuesday morning, Sutter Health publicly reported that some of its information systems—including the EHR and phones—were offline and that it had implemented standard downtime procedures as technical teams worked to restore the systems. However, it wasn’t until Wednesday morning that the health system announced its systems had been restored.

“We are happy to report that Sutter Health’s major patient care and other important information systems are now back up and running,” the provider organization announced in a written statement on its website. “Some applications are still being restored. Our technical teams worked around the clock to resolve this issue and continue to do so. All Sutter Health data remains secure. While some of our care centers had to delay or reschedule services, downtime procedures were in place, allowing our caregivers and office staff to continue providing quality patient care, which is our highest priority.”

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Without use of its EHR, the health system executed an existing contingency plan and reverted to using paper-based charts, according to an article in the Santa Rosa-based Press Democrat. “Everything that would be put into a computer is being put on paper and will be entered into computers later,” said Dean Fryer, a Sutter Health spokesman. “We have procedures in place…It’s all about patient safety.”

Sutter Health also reported that there was no property damage in the data center where the fire suppression system was activated.

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