You have a working disaster recovery plan for your diagnostic imaging department that you revisit often, don’t you? An informal poll taking during a recent McKesson Enterprise Medical Imaging webinar showed that four out of five respondents did have a DR plan that included radiology and cardiology systems. So that’s a great start.
But does the plan cover what it needs to cover? Keep in mind these five issues as you develop a disaster recovery plan for the first time or revisit an existing plan.
- Understand the need for disaster recovery. Certain geographic locations are more prone to certain natural disasters. Think Florida and the Eastern Seaboard for hurricanes and the Midwest for tornadoes. But the chaotic weather patterns that have been occurring in recent years should give you reason to think beyond the obvious. Check with your local, regional or state disaster planners to find out what potential natural disaster events they are planning for. You should also be thinking about the physical security of your IT infrastructure. Do your data policies include frequent password changes? How secure is your server room? Not all disasters are the result of Mother Nature.
- Develop a business case for resiliency planning. The C-suite understands financial impact, which is how you make your case for disaster recovery. The financial impact of losing your medical imaging functionality is two-fold: productivity and labor. On the productivity side, no procedures equals no billing. How many procedures does your department do a day? The value of those procedures gives you some idea of the financial impact of downtime. And if the system is down, what are staff doing? Are there alternative workflows for how employees deal with downtime?
- Conduct a risk assessment. The risk assessment is of critical importance, so you may consider bringing in a medical imaging consultant to help with this aspect. Certain pieces of equipment or processes likely are more important than others from a financial standpoint. But understanding those relationships and accurately reflecting them through an ROI analysis can be a challenging task.
- Make an investment in solution architecture. One obvious solution is to replicate the architecture from your primary data center to a secondary data center. What may not be so obvious is that the second data center ideally would be situated in another geographic location. A single natural disaster can cut a wide swath of destruction. From day to day, what are you doing to maximize uptime for your users? Virtualizing back-end infrastructure and clustering servers and functions are two common ways to improve the user experience.
- Define roles and responsibilities in your DR plan. While the focus of disaster recovery plans is rightfully on the technical aspects of the recovery, you need a strong action plan to help ensure the technical aspects are accomplished quickly. That requires drawing up a list of roles and responsibilities, with specific parts of recovery assigned to a specific person. It’s not enough for the DR plan to state the technical services team is responsible for X, Y and Z aspects of recovery. It should state that Joe is responsible for X; Sally for Y; and Tom for Z. As people change roles, the DR plan should be updated accordingly. You also should consider how you will communicate with users during any service disruptions.
Data resiliency planning should include a plan that is a living document, referred to frequently and updated as often as necessary to accurately reflect the current state of your department.
For more information on how a McKesson Medical Imaging Professional Services™ consultant can help you, visit our web site.