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The Value of Redundancy (Editorial)

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A February cyberattack on one of the largest health care billing clearinghouses in the U.S. left several Arkansas hospitals in a real lurch.

Change Healthcare was the UAMS Medical Center’s sole billing claims processor, leaving the hospital in a cash flow crisis while Change’s systems were offline, our Senior Editor Mark Friedman reported. Washington Regional Medical System and CARTI had to reroute their claims.

The attack “really should awaken us as to how fragile the system is,” Washington Regional CEO Larry Shackelford said.

UAMS and others are taking the opportunity to build in redundancy. We think that’s the right move.

A move towards redundancy can be at odds with the ever-present goal to become more efficient. But in critical areas, building in redundancy is key.

It can be jarring when an employee takes vacation and it becomes clear they were the only one who knew certain information or how to do certain tasks. That’s to say nothing of large, critical systems like the nation’s health care billing apparatus.

Redundancy is like an insurance policy. Those monthly premiums are a bother, but when you need it, that policy sure is nice.

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