Clearing Patient Data-Save Yourself a Service Call
by: Mike Davis
As a Technical Support Specialist, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received an urgent call from an end user who says their system is running slow and will not allow them to create a new patient. I am usually able to confirm fairly quickly that they’ve tried everything they know and nothing is allowing them to create a new patient. More often than I care to mention, we soon discover together the cause…the storage space on the drive is full.
Storage space on the ultrasound is limited; however since the system defaults to saving patient data like images and videos on the system, the drive can quickly fill up. If the system is older, this can happen even faster. The result is a slow and sluggish system, unable to add new patients, unable to send images to PACS and this can cause a system to lock up. Removing older patient data is recommended at least once per year. If the system receives a preventive maintenance every 6 months, try to perform a data deletion at that time.
Clearing patient data is normally a fairly simple process. The first step is to insure that you have the permission to delete the files—check with the lead biomed or technician before you begin. Once the data is off the system it is gone for good so be careful.
There are several ways that you can remove the patient data. Directories can be removed one at a time or with a full database reset. Systems like GE and Toshiba offer the ability to fully reset the database. This is the preferred method as it will recover the maximum amount of storage space. Please use this method only after assuring that there is nothing on the system that the staff may still need access to.
There are times where the staff has no server to transfer the patient data to and they need to keep the patient records. If you run into this issue, your best course of action is to back up or transfer all the necessary files to a thumb drive or a CD/ DVD. Be sure to provide the backed up data to the staff for safe keeping. Never offer to store the files for them as this is a direct HIPPA violation.
Removing the information from the system will vary from system to system and from manufacturer to manufacturer. Pulling up the patient data and deleting them from the patient screen can seem like a long and tedious method. This method does have advantages. It allows you to delete specific files plus it does not require any special codes or passwords.
Some systems like GE do allow you to perform a full database reset with the proper passwords. Other systems like a Sequoia 512 will allow you do perform an AEGIS reset right from the system tab. While still others will require a special license to access the process. Any way that you choose to clean up the systems storage drive, just make it part of your normal routine. This will keep your sonographers happy and reduce your overall service call numbers.
TO LEARN MORE about this issue call 866-900-9404.