The Unexpected Causes of Disaster at Healthcare Facilities

It’s a common misconception that natural disasters are the number one cause of critical incidents at healthcare facilities. While it’s true that natural disasters like floods or forest fires can threaten a facility—especially if they host their EHR systems and data on premises—natural causes aren’t the most common causes for IT disasters.

Instead, the four main causes of disaster at healthcare facilities are as follows:

#1 Cause of Disaster: Hardware Failure
Hardware failure causes 55% of all disasters. It’s more common than you might think, and at Sisu, we’ve seen component failure time and time again. It’s one that can be remediated and avoided through architecture and design, and it’s also one you can plan for with a solid disaster recovery plan.

#2 Cause of Disaster: Human Error
The second biggest cause for disaster is human error. This one gets overlooked quite often. However, if you take a look at the problems you have with your work computer or your personal computer, you’ll find that simple human error—accidentally unplugging the wrong device, forgetting to install a Windows Update—can derail a system quite easily. The same is true for the infrastructure that powers your facility. Training can mitigate some of these errors, but accidents will happen, which is why it’s important to have a backup plan in place.

#3 Cause of Disaster: Software Failure
The third most common cause of IT disasters is software failure, such as bugs in code or general application failures. Unless you’re the developer, there’s not much you can do to prevent them. However, you can mitigate them by ensuring that you have a disaster recovery plan that includes regular system and data backups.

#4 (and Least Likely) Cause of Disaster: Natural Disaster
Not only are these the least likely incidents to cause disasters, but also natural disasters can very often be forecasted. So unlike, for example, spontaneous hardware failure, you may at least have some warning preceding a natural disaster, giving you the opportunity to react. Additionally, if you have hosted your EHR software and data in the cloud, a natural disaster will present a much lower threat to your facility’s data and IT infrastructure.

Is your organization protected against these common threats with a robust disaster recovery plan? We help our customers develop the right plan to protect their facilities and their data for a price that fits within their budgets. For an initial consultation, get in touch with us at or 218.529.7951.