Woman waits 12 hours to get CT Scan because hospital computers are down

Hospital expects a fix by the end of the week

BOULDER, Colo. - When Jim Mooar's wife went to Boulder Community Hospital for a scan she was told she needed, it took three hours for her to get admitted to a room and another 12 hours to get the scan because computers in the hospital were not working.

"She couldn't be admitted. We actually did the admission paperwork about an hour before she was discharged, it was like 11 or 12 pages and we had to go through one by one," Mooar said. "They didn't know what medications she was taking, they didn't know what medications she had had and they didn't know what she was allergic to because the computers were down."

Mooar said he understands the computers being down one day but it worries him since they've now been down a full week.

"It's obvious to me that they don't have a proper recovery plan for their business," Mooar said.

Boulder Community Hospital released this statement after 7NEWS questioned the issue.

The hospital has detailed plans in place for responding to such a situation.  We switch to manual paper record-keeping systems and traditional paper charts for our patients. These systems allow us to continue treating patients, providing diagnostic services and collecting clinical information that will be entered later into each patient’s Electronic Health Record.

All hospital services are still being provided and patient safety remains our top priority.  We recognize that providing care can take longer when we are using manual systems.  We have special teams of employees from across the hospital working together to support our direct caregivers and minimize any impact on our patients.

The results of all critical and emergency tests are being relayed immediately to physicians by telephone, which has always been our standard procedure.

We have had delays in distributing the results for routine diagnostic tests.  We have implemented some new procedures to improve that situation.  Physician offices also can contact us directly to get results.

It is taking us longer than normal to schedule non-critical diagnostic tests such as screening mammograms.  However, once services are scheduled, patients are being seen on time.

We recognize that some people in our community are frustrated and apologize for the delays in distributing non-critical test results and scheduling services. 

We expect our computer system to be operating normally at the end of the week.

Our IT Department is working to determine the root cause of this problem.  We will then take all appropriate action to minimize the possibility of a similar event occurring.   There is no evidence the hospital computer system was hacked.  There is no threat to the confidentiality of patient information.

7NEWS reached out to the organization which accredits 82 percent of hospitals nationwide including Boulder Community. The Joint Commission said they were unaware of the issue prior to our message, and they would be reviewing the case to make sure protocol is followed. They acknowledged that in worst-case scenarios, hospitals may resort to paper and pencil record keeping if the computers are down.