Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

Warehouse Fire Highlights Importance of Electronic Health Records

By Jennifer Bresnick

Several New York hospitals dodged a major blow when a Brooklyn warehouse went up in smoke this weekend thanks to keeping duplicate copies of their documents in their electronic health records (EHR) systems.  The CitiStorage warehouse, which held legal and financial documents as well, continues to burn as recovery specialists comb the streets and the East River for fragments of papers with personal health information, social security numbers, and bank account details exposed to the public.

North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Mount Sinai Health System, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and NYU Langone Medical Center, all members of the Greater New York Hospital Association, stored records at the facility, reports the New York Times, but the organizations also kept copies of the patient data in their EHR systems, preventing a total loss of the information.

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation also used the site for storage, said spokesman Ian Michaels, but “fortunately, as an early adopter of electronic medical record systems, HHC keeps vital patient records in electronic form and we do not anticipate this will affect our patient-care operations,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

While electronic data breaches are, perhaps, more common than immense warehouse fires that litter fragments of charred paper across New York City, ensuring that patient information is stored in multiple places and in readily accessible digital formats can prevent data loss in the event of an unforeseen emergency and ensure that clinicians have access to information necessary for treatment and patient care.

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