EMR Backups

Posted on March 19, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

My favorite part of HIMSS is meeting all sorts of interesting people. One of those people I met was Lyndsey Coates from Nuesoft. I have a soft spot in my heart for Nuesoft since they were the company that trained me on my first EMR. I still remember the 3 day intense training in their office. Lyndsey and I had interacted a few times before the conference and so it was nice to meet her in person. It was just too bad that we didn’t get to spend more time together.

What does this have to do with EMR backups?

Well, Lyndsey and I didn’t have much time together at the conference, but she sent me a nice bloggers “love note” in the form of a blog post about offsite EMR backup systems after meeting me at the conference. She even sent me a friendly tweet to let me know about the post.

I was a little busy with HIMSS and all, but I’m always happy to share in a little blog sparring. So, Lyndsey, here we go.

I’m really glad to hear you respect my opinion, but I’m a little surprised that you didn’t like my post about offsite EMR backup services. I guess I could have imagined that a SaaS EMR vendor might have a different view. In fact, you make a nice case in your blog post about the challenges of backup with the client server model. Definitely a number of good points for doctors to consider when selecting their EMR.

However, somehow your post left out some of the problems related to backups with a SaaS EMR. No worries though, I’ll be happy to share;-)

First and foremost, I can’t believe you think that doctors will trust an EMR vendor to back up their EMR appropriately. I mean seriously, we’re talking about my whole clinical practice stored on your servers and trusting that your IT staff are doing my backups? I don’t think so. I barely trust my own staff to do backups, so why would I trust my EMR vendor’s staff to do something as important as the backups of my EMR?

No, I’m definitely not trusting you and your IT staff to backup my EMR. Maybe there are a lot of doctors that don’t do backups properly, but there are a lot of large vendors that don’t do backups properly either. Yes, even the all powerful Google lost some data because they didn’t have the right backups.

Plus, if you’re doing my backups that means that you establish the policy and time frame that the backups are done. If I do them in house, I get to schedule the backups, verify the backups and see the reports and logs about when backups are done. I get to choose when and how often those backups are done. With you, I just have to hope that you’re doing them.

Plus, there’s just something that doesn’t feel right about you having the backup of all my data. Maybe you don’t remember that the data stored in the EMR is my life. Not my literal life, but the life of my practice. Maybe you feel comfortable with my life being stored in your redundant data centers across redundant servers who mirror the data and all sorts of other cool backup processes. Personally, I feel comfortable knowing I have a backup of my life in my office with me. I can see it, touch it, pet it and know that it’s safe in my loving arms.

Finally, let’s not call out my previous post about Offsite Backup Service for EMR for “missing the mark a bit.” While SaaS EMR are doing very well, there’s still a VERY large number of people who will select a client server EMR. Better to help them get their client server backup services right than to just tell them that they should have bought a SaaS EMR.

Plus, maybe Nuesoft and other SaaS based EHR should consider partnering with one of these offsite backup solutions. I imagine a lot of doctors would love to have their SaaS EHR backed up to an offsite backup provider like the ones I mentioned in that post. Basically, a location that the doctor can access and control. Could be an interesting service to offer your clients.

Your turn Lyndsey!

P.S. I personally don’t care either way. I think that the client server or SaaS model are legitimate EMR solutions. Long term SaaS EMR are likely to win the day, but that’s still a long ways away. I do enjoy playing devil’s advocate though.