A prolonged computer system outage is preventing Boulder Community Hospital from accessing patient records -- making it difficult for people to schedule surgeries, get test results and make appointments for routine blood work.

Meditech, the system used by the hospital to manage patient records, went down in the middle of last week. It could take the hospital until Friday to get the system back up, said Rich Sheehan, spokesman for Boulder Community.

While information technology officials are investigating what caused the outage, Sheehan said patient records are protected and hospital officials don't believe they've been hacked.

The outage affects the hospital, its Foothills campus, eight laboratories and six imaging centers.

"We know medical care is important to people, so we understand the concerns those in the community have," Sheehan said. "We have a lot of people working on this, doing the best they can to solve this problem in a safe manner and as quickly as possible."

In the meantime, the hospital is using manual paper record-keeping systems and traditional paper charts for its inpatients. Hospital officials say the system allows them to continue treating patients, provide diagnostic services and collect important clinical information that will be entered later into each patient's electronic health record.

But that concerns Eroca Lowe, whose mother was in the hospital Thursday through Sunday with gallbladder pain.


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Lowe said the outage made it extremely difficult for doctors and nurses to do their jobs while hunting down lab results. She criticizes the hospital for not having a backup computer system and resorting to paper records.

"That's not a hospital in 2013," she said.

Her mother has been released from the hospital and stabilized, but Lowe said she's concerned about the "lack of responsiveness and information from the management of the hospital about the problem and when it was going to be solved."

Dina Huber said it took her and her significant other six days to schedule an appointment for a hernia surgery because the system used for scheduling is down.

"If they can't keep their computer system running, how can we trust them to perform surgery?" Huber said.

A physician who works at Boulder Community Hospital, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he doesn't think the outage is compromising the health or safety of patients. But, he said, the backup response "seems a little haphazard, and it's not an organized plan." He said physicians are left chasing down records.

All hospital services are still being provided, but officials say it's taking longer than normal to schedule non-critical diagnostic tests such as screening mammograms. Also, there are delays in relaying results for routine diagnostic tests ordered by physicians. Physician offices can call the hospital to get results for their patients.

For all critical and emergency tests, results are being reported immediately to physicians via phone, which has always been the hospital's standard procedure.

Sheehan said the hospital is prioritizing accuracy and patient safety while getting the records system up and running.

"We apologize for the delays, but this was an unavoidable situation," Sheehan said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or anasb@dailycamera.com.