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Boston Children’s emerges from electronic records shutdown

Digital imaging, patient registration, and scheduling were unaffected by the hardware issue. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Boston Children’s Hospital was returning to 21st century normality Wednesday after several days functioning without a mainstay of modern medicine — its electronic records system.

A hardware issue related to storage shut the system down Friday afternoon, forcing clinicians to rely on paper and shoe leather to track treatment, order tests, and drugs, and receive test results. Digital imaging, patient registration, and scheduling were unaffected.

By Wednesday, the system — known as CHAMPS, for Children’s Hospital Applications Maximizing Patient Safety — was repaired and tested, and was coming back in phases, spokesman Rob Graham said.

Graham said most patients did not notice the difference. Fewer than five elective medical admissions were postponed, but all surgeries occurred as planned. The hospital has a plan to handle such outages, although the system had never been down for so long, he said.


“The hospital clinicians . . . immediately pivoted to patient care services that don’t rely on electronic health records,” Graham said, including face-to-face communication and hand-delivering prescriptions and lab results. “A very small number of additional staff” helped make this possible, Graham said.

“Everybody was really reminded that the systems that keep Boston Children’s running are people, not just technology.”

Felice J. Freyer can be reached at