In the last 10 years, we have had the power fail on us at least 5 times that I’m aware of. Bizarrely some of those times it has been 1 or 2 of the 3 phases that our building uses, which has meant that some equipment is on and some isn’t and some only partially works! In all cases when it happens its a pain.
Without the computer, I cant work. There is no pretending, I can’t remember peoples names, let alone their blood results from 3 weeks ago or what medications they are on. Certainly not to the level of detail that would make a consultation safe. It is bizarre that when it happens, some wait patiently, some go home if it doesn’t look like a temporary thing and some still want to be seen, somehow thinking we are joking or have secret paper copies of everything or have memorised their notes. I cant prescribe without the computer, we might have a paper pad somewhere in the building but finding it will take some time!
Now what I’m not sure is, if we had EMIS mobile – would that be a solution? If my iPad was charged, and I had wifi – perhaps it would? However, the point of this piece was to remind people about UPS devices. Often one of the problems is knowing who has arrived and who hasn’t – as once reception crashes no one can check in. In many cases, I can consult from a printed summary printout (if we find the pad). A simple solution might be to make sure your reception PC has a UPS device and printer attached and the receptionist is trained to print out summaries. The patient could carry them in.
In most cases, you will probably find that your local IT department will have protected the local server if you have one or the network switches and router with a UPS so you will probably have internet. Of course, if you have lost this.. you need to think about other plans. But if you have a network, buying a couple of decent UPS devices could keep a few key machines going. Of course, you could choose to backup every machine but perhaps that is more expense than is needed. But perhaps several key machines could be covered.
Of course, laptops kind of have their own UPS installed, called a battery and recently we have had a couple of laptops bought for us to take to nursing homes. Now these have for us full EMIS on them with smart card readers so the trick here is to make sure that 1. they are in the building if not on a visit i.e. not at a GPs home or in a boot, and 2 are fully charged. So we have them plugged in on a shelf when not in use.
Locally we have invested in Horizon remote desktop as a solution for remote access. You can use it from home, on a Windows PC, Mac, iPad etc. The server is remote to us and it works on a normal internet connection – you don’t need n3. In theory the laptops have this installed on them as well and if our wifi/internet went down – most of the rooms in our building can see the local MacDonalds free wifi and in theory, we could carry on consulting using their connection!