Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More PACS Ownership Follies

On the heels of the last post comes an interesting incident illustrative of how the process works.

IT informed the PACS team at 12:26 PM yesterday that there will be a planned internet outage from 2AM through 4AM tomorrow morning, and PACS informed Radiology of this via email at 4:17 PM. Supposedly, services within the enterprise should continue to function (i.e., the LAN's will still be functional), but there will be no outside access. This is a bit of a problem, as we have nighthawk radiologists that sit at one site and read for all of our sites. Scans from other hospitals are piped in via.....Internet!

Yours truly complained (very respectfully, I might add):

As you know, our night radiologists are completely dependent upon the internet connection to the outside which allows them to serve (our outside) hospitals. While we appreciate the advance notice, I hope it is understood that this planned outage represents a significant impact upon our ability to provide patient care. Therefore, I respectfully request that this outage be postponed until such time as (we) can together formulate an alternative conduit to allow for us to provide uninterrupted service.

Your understanding in this matter is greatly appreciated.

PACS responded:

Due to the necessity of this planned system outage, we can not postpone the outage. We understand your concern for patient care, which is why we had hoped that with enough prior notice alternate means of access could be arranged.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention and we will work together to minimize situations like this in the future.

OK, I do hope we can stick to that last sentence. Is 34 hours enough prior notice? I don't think so, personally. But, since IT owns the network, IT triumphs yet again.


Anonymous said...

assuming thats the end game, you should use the situation to pressure IT to put in redundant feeds so it doesn't happen again. I'd hope it wouldn't happen on my watch but then I haven't made it to CIO so is that a good thing or a bad thing?

BigG said...

This is one of the reasons that I am trying to implement strict policies in our IT Department to govern situations like this before we implement PACS. (I am in the IT Department). I am a firm believer that procedural documentation is a critical part of Radiology and Medical Information Technology. With strict policies in place IT and or Radiology always have something to fall back on i.e. contact detials of whom to contact in the event of outages, guidlines on scheduling downtime, disaster recovery plans, etc.
(Although we did down the network for 7 hours recently for switch upgrades and fibre installation with only about 24 hours notice.)


Anonymous said...

always validate and document! Project Management / Implementation 101. Validate and document every step, process, iteration and / or activity. This leave a much more valuable audit trail and better infrastructure management. Without an inventory of your information / infrastructure lifecycle management, there can never be a functionally efficiently effective disaster recovery plan or process. You'll only find yourself constantly running to wherever the fire is.

Alani Kuye,
President, Phantom Data Systems Inc. Norwalk, CT