By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Last week’s storm challenged many hospitals because this was the first time a major storm hit hospitals along the east coast with electronic medical records playing a key role in patient care.

One of the things that has been helpful is that, as these electronic records have been built, there has always been an attempt to plan for losing power. The biggest defense is the fact that hospitals have generators and back up power that is connected to critical medical equipment like respirators, heart monitors and important imaging equipment. The computerized medical record and patient management systems are also backed up.

There are also so-called downtime paper forms that are available if necessary.

Going forward it will be essential to keep protective safeguards like this in place for those who are under care.

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