Hello fellow scientists,

I work in a hospital where a lot of processes are digitalized (e.g., electronic health records, QR-code assisted workflow for prescribing medication etc.). I am looking for research on whether the failure (as in, acute breakdown) of such systems and returning to analog systems (e.g., documenting charts on paper, filling prescriptions per hand, etc.) does increase the number of errors made or the number of adverse events that occur. Furthermore, I would like to know if the number of errors / adverse events would be higher than they were before implementing the digitalized workflows.

I have been scouring the literature for several days now, without success. Does anybody, perchance, know more on the subject, and can you point me in the right direction?

  • 1
    "the failure of such systems and returning to analog systems" - Do you mean temporary failures such as a computer being down, or do you mean a decision to abandon electronic systems altogether because they were deemed a failure? – Carey Gregory Aug 11 '20 at 13:55
  • Yes, I mean temporary failures such as power loss, IT breakdown, ransomware attacks, etc. Anything that may cause staff to return to documenting on paper. I need proof that such a scenario would be potentially harmful, so we can aquire ressources to prevent such a scenario from happening (if the hypothesis is true, that is). I edited the post to clarify this. – jangoertzen Aug 11 '20 at 14:28
  • Back-up generators avoid technical breakdowns. – Andrew Aug 15 '20 at 22:22
  • Andrew, that is simply untrue. 1) Back-up generators mostly supply critical infrastructure like ventilators, ORs, lights, cooling systems, etc. Not every single documentation workstation. 2) Things tend to break when switching to backup generators, including the generators themselves. This is why we have black building tests. 3) Not all breakdowns are electrical - what about updates that break things, ransomware attacks, overheating switches, excavators hitting cabel ducts, corrupt databases, user error, hardware failure of any kind? – jangoertzen Aug 17 '20 at 7:01

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