Nursing Informatics

Downtime / Nursing Informatics Reading and Sharing

Downtime refers to the period of time when an information system is not operational or available for use. Some systems have daily scheduled downtimes, during which maintenance and backup procedures are performed.

Examples of amount of downtime criteria for an information system:

  1. Provides 24-hour system availability with no scheduled daily downtime
  2. Does not have a history of prolonged or frequent unscheduled downtimes
  3. for open repository and comprehensive patient records, minimal downtime should be standard
  4. Most system changes should be able to be made without bringing complete system


Information systems personnel carefully plan computer downtime to perform system or code maintenance and upgrades.

  • Planned downtime is scheduled at a time when few end users are routinely logged into the information system, usually during the early morning hours.
  • Unplanned but scheduled downtime can happen at any time;
    • for example, a software fix in necessary and needs to be installed immediately into the information system.
  • Unplanned and unscheduled downtime can happen at any time when the network or computer hardware malfunctions.

Downtime procedures are not implemented unless downtime is expected to last for several hours. The administrator on call usually decides when to start using downtime procedures.

  • paper medication administration records, clinical and lab reports, and manual requisitions are used during an information system downtime.
  • downtime procedures should be introduced during training and should be reviewed annually.
  • It is also important to review downtime procedures if the system will be out of operation for an extended schedule downtime.


As time goes on, the system becomes stable, trust in the system grows, users become more comfortable, new employees have only used the existing system, and the organization tends to forget how life was before system implementation. … A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) documents how the organization continues to perform critical business processes when the supporting information system is unavailable. …Creating the plan, obtaining the supplies, and practicing procedures are critical to ensuring business as usual. Do not lose sight of how long it takes to order downtime forms, including the number of forms that might be needed in a 24-hour period and how long it takes for a reorder, as well as from where the reordered comes.

Exercising system failure backup plans as well as COOP or downtime procedures yearly or semiannually reminds all staff members how to function in case of real system failure.



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