My Tablet failed. It is still usable, but when I flip the screen and shut it to turn it into a slate, the screen goes dark just as it is about to be shut. I phoned IBM; we have an extended 3 year warranty, but it does not include on-site service. They sent me a box so I can ship the Tablet to them. I'm not going to do that; I don't know how soon it will come back.
This brings me to the issue of redundancy. What do you do if some of your hardware or software fails? It was hard to plan well for that at the beginning of EMR, because I was too busy just keeping my head above water. Now that things are smoother, I have managed to put in some safety valves.
I do not know of any manual that outlines exactly what we should plan for; perhaps practices are too individual for that. I figure that it is good to identify things that you can't do without, the so called "mission criticals", and plan for what happens if they did fail. In any case, here is what I have done in my practice.
Practice data is the most "mission critical" thing there is. In my FHN, we have the server at the hospital, so they back it up nightly (as part of their routine back-up systems for the whole hospital's IT), and keep a spare copy at a second hospital site. The data has been validated, which means that they've looked at it to make sure that the copy is good. If the server fails, the most we can lose is a day's data. We had server failures early on in the project, so we know what to do if that happens: write notes on paper and scan into the EMR later; do prescription refills when the system is working again. Things are much more stable now, but if there is a problem, we know what to do.
There is also local data. The scanned charts in my external hard drive have been backed up to 2 DVDs, 1 copy at my office and 1 at home. As new charts get added from the inactive files, we back them up to DVDs weekly. The local data on my Tablet (patient handouts, clinical cheat notes, reports from committees I sit on, etc) gets backed up to an external hard drive at my home (sometimes).
I have a back-up internet connection to access the server via VPN in case SSHA fails. That required paying someone from Nightingale to come and do it properly; the office network is sufficiently complicated that I cannot manage this myself.
I have a spare laptop to use in case my Tablet really breaks; I carry it around, it can get dropped. The laptop is used by my resident a half day a week, so I know it is properly configured and ready to go. When not in use, it is attached to a laptop lock beside the vaccine fridge.
The Tablet has a stylus to write on its screen; I use the stylus instead of a mouse. These are always getting misplaced; I have two spares, 1 in each exam room.
There are two desktop PCs at the front. If one fails, we can still function, and can use the laptop temporarily.
As far as the screen problem on my Tablet, IBM gave me the name of several local companies that they use. I am responsible for the cost of the "housecall" (about $95/hour) if I choose to have someone come to my office, and they will pay for the repair. I phoned around, and there is a very reputable company close to where I live. They told me that if I bring the Tablet to them, there is no extra charge. That's what I will do.