High availability technologies are technologies which will make the hospital information system online and ready to access from authorized users when needed. Because the hospital operates 24 hours every day and, in some cases, the information has to be reached immediately, the planning and application of High availability technologies into the health information system is very important and will benefit Patients and Hospitals as I will describe below.
Service quality: Applying high availability technologies will increase service quality in both effectiveness and timeliness.
Using RAID, redundant array of independent disks, will create data redundance which will increase the effectiveness of patient care and the hospital workflow. For example, Laboratory results of patient are accidentally lost from a hard drive failing. Instead of having to retest to get the result, which would make patients feel uneasy and consume hospital resources, data is still available and will be recovered to use on time by using RAID. Moreover, in the emergency situation, having immediate data recovery will benefit the safety of the patient.
Timeliness data access will be increased with the Load balancer. There might be some occasions of high demand in requesting data at the same time such as patients wanting to reach Hospital websites or physicians requesting data from servers. This could slow the time in being able to access data. However, using load balancer, clients will be distributed into multiple servers which will assist the client to connect to the server and make it quicker for data accessing.
Financial issue: Applying high availability technologies will save financial resources for patients and hospitals. From the example above, using RAID in cases of losing the laboratory result means hospitals don’t have to re-test which will save the hospital budget and also the patient’s cost of travelling to re-test.
Apart from that, in case of disasters such as earthquakes or hospital fires which destroy one of the servers or nodes, using failover clustering by setting two geographical nodes will help to recover data and keep the system running. This would save costs for the hospital in setting up the new system and recovering and regenerating all data back to the system.
Legal issue: Providing availability for electronic protected health information is one of the standards in the security rule from HIPPA. Therefore, hospitals should provide proper availability for their own system to reduce the problem of legal compliance and increase the reliability of the organization.