Widespread computer outage forces Banner Health to revert to paper files

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A widespread computer outage at Banner Health Hospitals forced medical staff here in the Valley and in other states to go old school and use pen and paper as they cared for their patients.

According to Bill Byron, a spokesman for Banner Health, the system went down at about 9:40 a.m. Wednesday.

"Yesterday evening, we were able to get things up and running," he said. "Throughout the evening, all our systems came back up. We're operating normally today."

Byron said Banner Health is trying to determine what sparked the outage.

"We believe that there was a technical glitch that created this," he said, although he did not elaborate.

Byron said the company would be looking into the incident in the coming days so that its IT people understand what happened and why so they can prevent a recurrence.

Byron told 3TV's Yetta Gibson that there have been computer outages in the past, "but not to this degree."

Some non-emergency surgeries and appointments were rescheduled, but the medical facilities, including Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, continued operations ad patients were never in danger..

The paper files generated while the computers were down are being entered into the system so their will be no gaps in patients' information.

Banner Health, which is based in Phoenix, has not said exactly how many of its hospitals and other facilities and were affected by the outage, and as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday, there was no information about the situation on its Twitter page.

Banner Health, which is known for its computer-based record-keeping system, operates 24 hospitals, several primary-care officers and outpatient facilities in six states.