By: Hunster Yang, BSc Candidate (University of Western Ontario)
Questions we’ll explore in this INFOblog:
1. Why is OSCAR EMR external data backups necessary?
2. How do OSCAR EMR backups exactly work?
These are very valid questions that arise when one thinks about migrating to paperless technology. The truth is that, as much as we would like to believe that technology is impermeable to damage, it unfortunately isn’t. A simple water spill over my laptop can cost me all my notes, documents and files to disappear if they weren’t properly backed up…thank the stars for google drive!
Similarly, patient data is one of the most essential aspects of a clinic. That is why the transition from using paper-based charts to an EMR is unquestionably advantageous. However, it is inevitable that technologies are also susceptible to damage. It is possible for catastrophic events (i.e. floods, break-ins, storms, fires), disgruntled employees, physical damage, or viruses to jeopardize your EMR data. Therefore, it is crucial to protect your EMR by sustaining the security of your records through EMR backups and fail over mechanisms.
There are a couple of ways to perform EMR backups and fail over onto your back up when such scenario arises. It is possible to perform EMR backups locally through external hard drives, DVDs, CDs, or USBs. However, backing up locally introduces various time, security and maintenance issues. It can be time-consuming, as you must include backing up data into your clinic’s daily schedule. After, the EMR records must be transported to a different, secure location. As well and more importantly, you must have a trained and responsible staff member to ensure that the EMR data is being backed up and transported daily.
Infomedic’s backup solution would not face the aforementioned issues, as our EMR backups reside in a secured tier 3 PIPEDA + PHIPA complaint data centre that is based locally in Toronto with a redundant failover data centre in Montreal (our backups have a backup!). In short, we perform EMR backups automatically online by transmitting the EMR data to a highly secured data centre every 4 hours. There would be no need for a staff member to manage the backups daily. It is simple, safer, more secure and significantly easier to maintain in the clinic’s and vendor’s perspective.
In brief, EMR backups could save a clinic a substantial amount of time and money in the long run. Storage of data isn’t free, of course; however it could be the very solution that saves your clinic from unpredictable situations that cost all of the patients’ data. Remember, it is always better to be safe, than sorry.