The Internet has been down at our hospice office and in-patient unit all weekend. It’s frustrating because we have a shared connection with another of our facilities, so it’s hard to know exactly where the problem is occurring. Is it at our office or at their nearby location? Plus, this morning we were greeted by the smell of sulfuric acid when we opened the office doors– turns out one of our server room batteries bit the dust and melted down. It wasn’t the cause of the Internet outage, but it added insult to injury.

Internet downtime may seem low on the list when caring for patients who have only weeks to months to live. Sure, our focus is on comfort care and making sure our patients and their families have what is needed to make the most of each day. But when we get back to the office, the Internet is our critical link: from documenting care notes to our electronic medical records (EMR) system care to keep staff in the loop, emails between staff about patient schedules and visit notes, phone calls in and out that rely on Voice over IP (VoIP) services, plus faxes to and from medical providers with referral notes and hospital records. Havine an Internet outage means we have to rely on paper and cell phones to get our work done.

Sure, our cell phones have been a lifeline, but it’s not ideal. Three days later, we’re told that our Internet service re-connection is priority, but no one seems to know what’s causing the outage or when it will resolve. I wish we had installed Outages.io┬áso we could easily figure out where the failure is happening, but I’m not part of the IT staff. Sometimes it’s frustrating to know how to find a fix to the problem when it’s not my job.

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