Nurses want probe into EMR failure

March 10, 2015 in Medical Technology

“Our entire electronic and data system failed,” Feb. 27 wrote Antelope Valley’s Maria Altamirano, RN, on behalf of California Nurses Association, in a letter to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Due to the failure, the hospital, Altamirano explained, had to close its emergency department because it failed to have adequate backup plans in place. 

“How many hospitals are compromising the lives of their patients by not having a back up or plan of action in place for a catastrophic event as this?” she asked.


The hospital’s pharmacy system and its backup also crashed, according to an emailed statement from a CNA spokesperson.  


When asked about the incident, Antelope Valley hospital officials did not respond for comment by publication time. 


National Nurses United, the largest registered nurses union in the U.S. with some 185,000 members, in the last few years has criticized specific hospital’s use of EMR systems, platforms that have significant downtime, fail or are not designed to be user friendly for clinicians. 


As NNU Spokesperson Liz Jacobs told Healthcare IT News back in 2013: “We’re not anti-technology.” Rather, “we want smart technology that embraces and includes the clinical expertise of a registered nurse who really knows how best to put together a system that will work for them.”


The union also spoke up in a similar EMR outage back in August 2013 when Sutter Health’s $1 billion EMR system went dark for a day, preventing clinicians from accessing patient medical records and seeing medication orders. 


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