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Three-Day Cerner Outage Leaves Arizona Patients in the Dark

Cerner is a massive player in the electronic health record (EHR) space. Its EHR platform is used in thousands of hospital networks across the United States. One of these networks, Abrazo Health Hospitals in Arizona, experienced a three-day EHR system outage.

Abrazo Health Hospitals released a statement explaining clinicians had employed backup procedures to maintain operations without access to digital health records. Transitioning to paper records slowed care and delayed medical procedures.

After working with Cerner, the upgrade was put on hold and the EHR was brought back online. Abrazo plans to slowly shift back to EHR in order to uncover the root cause of the system outage.

Source: Cerner EHR at SoftwareReviews

Our Take

Cerner is an established market leader in EHR. It holds a near duopoly on large healthcare platforms with Epic Systems.

Outages like the one that occurred at Abrazo certainly contribute to Cerner customers’ 64% likelihood to recommend the platform, but Cerner is such a large player that the outage is unlikely to dent its long-term prospects or the widespread market move to longitudinal and rationalized EHR.

The incident does, however, underscore the need for IT to have contingency processes in place for dealing with outages in critical systems. In the healthcare environment, it can literally be a matter of life and death.

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