Computer systems sometimes fail, and for hospitals, that presents a particularly serious danger.
Health care providers must have access to the most current medical records of their patients to avoid potentially dangerous medical errors in giving medication and other procedures.
So what do some of them do to ensure they will have that updated information at all time?
According to Oscar Beninati, vice president of marketing for Natick-based Interbit Data, hospitals print the records. Continuously.
"They were printing out stacks of paper on a continuous basis just so they had it," Beninati said of some of the hospitals who are now Interbit customers. "Sometimes every 15 minutes to every 2 hours they are printing these things out."
It's a solution. But it's wasteful. And that's where Interbit comes in.
"We eliminate all that," Beninati said.
Its software products seem to be gaining traction.
The company just announced that it landed a new customer – Catholic Health East – which operates 15 hospitals on the eastern seaboard. Milford Regional Medical Center is also a customer.
With just 14 employees, the company has installed systems for more than 650 hospitals and other providers. It has made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies for the past three years in a row.
In the latest version of the rankings, Interbit is listed as increasing its revenue by 40 percent from 2007 to 2010.
The way one of Interbit's core products, called NetSafe works, is by taking snapshots of records in major health care information software systems like Meditech and Siemens. The snapshots replace the printer paper strategy, and the data is encrypted and stored on a local hard drive, where it can be accessed if the system goes down unexpectedly or for maintenance. The software also separates various reports out and sends them to all primary care providers involved.
With roughly 9,000 hospitals in the United States and Canada, Beninati said the market is big. And since Interbit's product works with any electronic record system of any size, the company can try to capture as much of that business as it can, with a particular focus on aiming for the big health systems with multiple hospitals.