This past month has been one issue after another with our IT systems. The stress and anxiety this has caused myself and my colleagues has been extraordinary. Our IT problems have been a nightmare and whatever fixes we put in place did not seem to work.
August is a peak time for any Homecare provider, with high levels of planned leave (whilst care staff take a well earned break) and unplanned leave. This month we have had record levels of referrals as the local hospitals are discharging people seemingly every hour of the day. Every year, I pray for August to be over and look forward to seeing September on the calendar, when the children are back in school and the care staff return to work (hopefully!) refreshed.
In line with our Business continuity plan and as a responsible provider, our Computer system which houses our rota system is backed up on a separate computer. The back up is also backed up, on a cloud. I had wrongly believed that this was to ensure we would always have an operating system should the worst happen.
This was not the case after our system crashed and could not be repaired for almost 12 hours, leaving our ability to provide the service severely affected.
With no access at all to our system, my colleagues and I were forced to work with paper rotas and hard copies of our unallocated calls. Telephone numbers and addresses were printed off from an update we complete once a week.
In all the melee and confusion, I wondered what happened in the days before these super duper systems were available. When Homecare started to become established in the early 90’s we were working on a smaller scale then, but somehow we managed.
Now though, we literally could not run our business without this technology. The system houses all our staff rotas and call allocations, and contains records of contact numbers and addresses, call monitoring etc. Our system is also the basis for producing our staff wages.
The cost of fixing our computers, buying a brand new server, and paying for the work to be completed, has made a significant dent in our annual budget. It is a worry how reliant we are on our systems, and after this recent experience, I am now reviewing our Business continuity plan to make sure it is fit for purpose. August this year will be scarred on my memory for a long time.