BRADENTON -- For generations, doctors and nurses used pencil and paper to communicate regarding crucial patient care.
On Sunday and Monday at Blake Medical Center, the past crashed into the present when the Bradenton hospital's computer system went down and a staff of about 1,200 had to resort to using paper and pencil again.
"There was no impact to patient care," said Melissa Morgan, Blake Medical Center spokeswoman. "Everything was added back into the computer when it came back on. It was absolutely amazing to see how the staff did it without a blink. It didn't appear to faze them at all."
The 48-hour computer outage, which started Sunday morning and ended Monday night, was due to a "hardware storage issue," said Daniel Friedrich, III, chief executive officer of Blake Medical Center.
Blake is one of 165 hospitals and 115 surgery centers in 20 states that are part of the Nashville-based Health Corporation of America. Blake officials could not confirm but said they thought Blake was the only HCA hospital with the two-day computer issue.
"Sunday morning we experienced a hardware storage issue that limited the use of our electronic health record," Friedrich said in a statement. "Since then, full access has been restored using our existing alternate data center strategy. While working to fix this issue, we used other systems and processes we have in place. We appreciate the patience and diligence of our caregivers, who continued to provide quality care during this time."
The hardware storage problem forced doctors and nurses to abandon typing for writing. Staff switched to filling out paper forms following the same procedures done with computers, Morgan said.
Friedrich ordered free lunch in the cafeteria Monday for all staff for efforts going above and beyond after the computer went down, Morgan said.
The hardware storage issue was not due to a breach or hack, Morgan added.
The glitch may have hit the front desk the hardest. Volunteers and staff were not able to use the computer Sunday or Monday to see if a patient was admitted, Morgan said.
The problem was fixed by Monday evening, Morgan added.
"When it went down, we switched to our down-time procedure, which we are all well trained in," Morgan said.
HCA employes approximately 204,000 people. Approximately 4 to 5 percent of all inpatient care in the country today is provided by HCA facilities, according to the HCA website.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.