ehr guidelines

Overview: Patient Safety Guidance for Electronic Health Record Downtime

In 2016, at the request of its membership, the Academic Medical Center Patient Safety Organization (AMC PSO) convened the task force to develop a set of literature supported, consensus-based guidelines addressing patient safety considerations during unplanned electronic health record (EHR) downtime events. This EHR Downtime Task Force reviewed the latest evidence, guidance, and opinion statements from relevant sources. Further insights were gathered from AMC PSO member subject matter experts in information technology, emergency preparedness, risk management, and patient safety.

What follows reflects the aim, mission and consensus opinion of the EHR Downtime Task Force. It offers guidance for patient safety leaders in their efforts to provide the safest care during unplanned EHR downtime and throughout the recovery phase.


  • Robert Ackerman
    Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham
  • Paul Biddinger
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Marcie Brostof
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Yvonne Cheung
    Mount Auburn Hospital
  • Kevin Churchwell
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Mary Devine
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Karen Fiumara
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Pat Folcarelli
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • James LaPlante
    Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Michael Lee
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Margaret Martello
    Mount Auburn Hospital
  • Daniel Nigrin
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Donald Novak
    University of Florida Health Shands Hospital
  • Alison Parmar
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Denise Peterson
    Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Michael Ricci
    Massachusetts Eye and Ear
  • Robert Todd
    Mount Auburn Hospital
  • Sharon Tompkins
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


The recommendations for Patient Safety Guidance for EHR Downtime were developed under the auspices of the Academic Medical Center Patient Safety Organization (AMC PSO) EHR Downtime Task Force. These consensus recommendations are for informational purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as a standard of care. The AMC PSO recommends institutions review these guidelines and accept, modify, or reject these recommendations based on their own resources and patient populations. Additionally, institutions should continue to review and modify these recommendations as the field continues to evolve.

See also the 2023 AMC PSO Patient Safety Alert on cyber security.
View Alert

Download the Guidelines



More AMC PSO Content

Publications such as whitepapers and guidelines derived from the AMC PSO convenings.

    Patient Safety Guidance for Pathology Specimens

    The AMC PSO convened the Lost Specimens Task Force to offer guidance — and identify and mitigate risks — for specimen loss and mishandling that results in diagnostic error.

    Neonatal Encephalopathy Guidelines

    At the behest of its membership, the Academic Medical Center Patient Safety Organization convened a Task Force to arrive at a set of consensus-based guidelines for the most effective use of therapeutic hypothermia in cases of suspected neonatal encephalopathy.
    wrong level spine image

    Patient Safety Framework for Mitigating Wrong Level Spine Surgery

    At the request of its membership, the AMC PSO convened the task force to develop a set of literature-supported, consensus-based recommendations addressing patient safety considerations for mitigating risk in spine surgery.
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