Patient safety during IT outages in hospitals
The Dutch Safety Board observes that, while hospitals are becoming increasingly dependent on IT systems, their awareness of the risks of IT failures has not kept pace with this dependency. In order to improve their management of the risks to patients, hospitals need to pay more attention to the prevention of IT failures, the resolution of these failures, and mitigating the consequences of IT failures for patient safety.
IT dependency of healthcare processes
The healthcare provided in hospitals is increasingly dependent on the proper functioning of hospital IT systems. This investigation has revealed how IT failures can jeopardize patient safety. The Dutch Safety Board has identified starting points for hospitals to identify the risks of IT outages at an early stage and effectively manage the consequences of these outages for patient safety. On the one hand, they need to focus more on the prevention of computer system failures, while on the other they need to improve their response to the consequences of an IT failure.
The frequency and duration of known IT failures in hospitals reveals that this is a widespread issue. The Dutch Safety Board has therefore decided not to limit its recommendations to the three hospitals investigated, but to address all hospitals in the Netherlands. To encourage hospitals to approach the issue as a sector, and learn from and with each other to adequately manage the risks of IT outages, the Dutch Safety Board has decided to direct its recommendations at the two largest sector associations. The Dutch Safety Board also sees a role for the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ) in this.