With many medical records going digital now, a loss or outage of data can have a huge impact on operations and can potentially have life or death implications for the most critical of patients. Here are some steps for developing data recovery procedures as part of a business continuity plan:
- Departmentalize. The needs each department has in a hospital will vary. First, try developing individual plans for each department. Prioritize the departments in order of critical care and then, within each, ensure that critical data requirements get brought back first.
- Start bad. When developing the plan, start with your worse case scenario and work backwards. This should be done for two reasons: this will ensure that your systems can handle the worst that can be thrown at them and working in the other order, best to worst, increases the risks of missing steps.
- Personnel. The role of personnel is critical in recovering data, so backups must be put in place for them as well. For example, if something happens and your IT manager is out on vacation, someone must be able to step in and fill that person's role in the data recovery process.
- Downtime. In any type of recovery plan, it is good to understand how much downtime you can afford to have. In hospitals, with lives potentially hanging in the balance, the importance of this is amplified. Once you have the time, develop your plans to exceed those goals that way, if recovery takes longer than estimated in the plan, you're more likely to still be within your acceptable downtime range.
- Test. Once a plan is in place, testing it often will ensure that it will work when you need it the most. Adjust the plan as needed based on these tests or real-life implementations.
Proper continuity planning is a big job that requires a lot of time and resources, and business continuity consultants can help create a cohesive plan to help in any possible scenario.