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COVID-19 UPDATES

This page will list resources and other pertinent information related to COVID-19

Connecting Patients With Loved Ones During the COVID-19 Pandemic

To reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, hospitals have largely restricted hospital visitors. To keep family members informed, UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital and NYU Langone Health have created communication programs where clinicians provide regular updates to patients’ families.

Nurses at UCHealth’s Poudre Valley Hospital serve as nurse communication liaisons between bedside nurses and a patient’s loved ones with help from Epic’s Secure Chat. Each day, a nurse communication liaison checks for new notes in Epic about patients being treated for COVID-19 in the hospital. Then, the nurse calls families with updates. If the families have questions, the nurse liaison uses Secure Chat to send a HIPAA-compliant secure message to the bedside nurse. The bedside nurse can answer the message quickly when a free moment arises.

“I love Secure Chat because it means the bedside nurse—who is gowned and gloved—doesn’t have to scrub out to answer a phone call,” said Molly, an ICU nurse at UCHealth.

At NYU Langone Health, more than 250 attending physicians, nurses, and medical students across several departments keep each patient’s family up to date up to date with proactive daily calls in the NYU Family Connect program. The program was created by Dr. Katherine Hochman, associate chair for quality for the Department of Medicine, who was inspired by her own experience in caring for COVID-19 patients on the front line and who wanted to make a difference while she was recovering from COVID-19 in quarantine.

The Family Connect attending and student team use WebEx to participate remotely as front-line attending physicians conduct interdisciplinary rounds, and then they call families with updates on the patient. Families can also contact a call center, which routes questions to attending physicians and nurses in Secure Chat. The calls become part of the patient’s care coordination notes, so family caregivers and the care team stay on the same page. These calls also allow the front-line team to focus on direct patient care.

“Both the families and the patients are so appreciative of the extra communication. We conducted more than 14,000 calls with the families of 1,869 patients,” said Dr. Hochman. “Being separated from a loved one in this situation is heartbreaking. Our Family Connect team feels really good about helping patients and families stay connected, and we’ve received great feedback from families.”

Epic is offering Secure Chat at no cost during the pandemic for organizations that weren’t using it before. Epic community members can learn how to quickly implement Secure Chat and connect members of a patient’s care team in the Managing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) With Epic white paper, which is updated regularly with recommended build and workflows.

Bringing Mobile COVID-19 Testing to Native Populations

Native American reservations have seen significant COVID-19 infection rates. Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico used a mobile clinic equipped with Epic to provide COVID-19 testing to more than 8,000 residents of pueblos—southwestern Native American settlements—throughout the state from March through early June. The mobile clinic today travels as far as 150 miles from the Presbyterian campus in Albuquerque.

“New Mexico is largely a rural state, and people who live in the pueblos might be many miles away from their providers,” said Mechem Frashier, director of Presbyterian Medical Center’s urgent care clinics. “When COVID-19 hit, we wanted to help those residents access convenient testing.”

PHS created a mobile testing unit in a few days using a bus and testing supplies they already had on hand. In addition to tablets and clinical supplies, the clinic bus is outfitted with its own generator and WiFi. Portable air conditioning keeps staff and patients safe in the desert heat.

Clinicians and staff arrive at the pueblo and set up a walk-through clinic with a check-in area and two exam rooms. As patients move through designated areas to register for the visit, get vitals taken, and receive a COVID-19 test, clinicians document the care in Epic using tablets. When test results come back, each patient receives a phone call from a clinician to discuss next steps. Patients can also review this information in MyChart. The clinic has tested as many as 440 patients in a single day.

“Staff see what a big impact it makes to bring care to very rural areas, especially during a pandemic,” Frashier said. “We plan to do even more with this unit going forward—especially leading up to flu season—so patients don’t have to travel a long way to get care.”

Read more from the Albuquerque Journal.

Farm-to-Pantry Delivery Program Addresses Food Insecurity During COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused significant disruption to the food supply chain in America, where one in nine Americans already struggled with food insecurity before the pandemic. St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor in Michigan, a member of Trinity Health, is addressing food insecurity in their community with a food assistance program that delivers fresh food from regional farms directly to patients’ homes.

During a patient’s clinic visit, providers ask questions about access to food and record the answers in the patient’s chart. Patients who need assistance can be enrolled quickly as part of the visit. Patients can also use MyChart to enroll themselves in the program.

“A resilient local food economy is vital to our overall health and wellbeing,” said Amanda Sweetman, director of farming and health lifestyles for Trinity Michigan. “I see this as a great opportunity to support patients and providers, as well as local farms, during this crisis.”

Find out more about The Farm from at St. Joe’s. Epic community members can learn about a program to reduce food insecurity on the UserWeb.

Valley Children’s Healthcare Goes Live Virtually During a Pandemic

Hospitals around the country are innovating in the face of COVID-19, and that spirit of innovation extends to go-lives, too. Valley Children’s Healthcare in Madera, California, used virtual at-the-elbow support to help them go live with a new EHR during the pandemic…

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Caring for Healthcare Workers’ Mental Health During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on healthcare workers’ well-being. To help them cope, University of California San Francisco Health is offering free clinical behavioral healthcare and curated online mental health resources for staff…

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Labs Adapt to Meet Increased COVID-19 Testing Needs in Norway

Widespread testing is critical to fighting the coronavirus outbreak. It both confirms infection in patients showing symptoms and identifies people without symptoms who might be unknowingly spreading the virus. Just one week after going live with Epic’s lab software, Helse Midt-Norge in Norway started around-the-clock COVID-19 testing to keep up with the influx in patient samples coming to the lab…

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Rapid Transformation to Treat COVID-19 in the Middle East

In the Middle East, the American University of Beirut Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare successfully implemented Epic features on accelerated timelines to help address COVID-19 and improve testing access and follow-up care in their communities…

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Carrying Forward Efficiencies Learned During the Pandemic

Northwestern Medicine in Chicago has a strong focus on clinician well-being . When they began responding to the coronavirus pandemic, they knew they needed to go even further to help staff adapt to the changing work environment. Northwestern expanded their use of Epic’s Haiku and Canto apps for phones and tablets so physicians could document more efficiently…

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Public Health Agencies Connect with the Epic Community to Track COVID-19 with Pulse Central

Within the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Epic created Pulse Central, a near real-time analytics platform that aggregates de-identified data from 1,200 hospitals using Epic across the U.S. The data is summarized into dozens of COVID-19 metrics to help public health agencies identify at-risk communities and opportunities for intervention…

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Shields on Wheels: Portable Protection for Clinicians

For Alison Craig, chief of staff at Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, the health and safety of her staff is a top priority. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her clinic had a limited supply of personal protective equipment, and she saw they were at risk of running out entirely.

“I had a lot of sleepless nights,” Craig said. Then, she had an idea for preventing her staff from virus exposure.

In mid-March, Craig found a photo of a South Korean healthcare worker using a plexiglass barrier and thought, “we can do that.” She worked with GHC’s facilities supervisor to create a rolling barrier that allows providers to test patients for COVID-19 without droplet exposure. This conserves low PPE supplies, particularly in GHC’s outpatient clinics.

Craig tweeted an image of the shield and was surprised to receive thousands of positive responses. She’s since shared a specifications document, and the design is free for others to replicate.

“This is really about trying to spread ideas of hope and spark innovative thinking during a really, really scary time,” Craig said.

Read more in The Cap Times.

Clinics Use Epic Data to Determine When It’s Safe to Reopen

Across the country, health systems have delayed office visits or transitioned to telehealth due to COVID-19, and safety is a top concern as they decide when to resume in-person visits and elective surgeries. Using data in Epic about each patient’s COVID-19 risk and care needs, Hattiesburg Clinic in Mississippi created a multi-phased plan to reopen clinics…

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Keeping Kids Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic with Drive-Thru Routine Vaccinations

As communities have sheltered in place to flatten the curve of COVID-19, many preventive care appointments have been postponed—including those for vaccinations to protect kids from other transmissible diseases, such as measles. CentraCare in Minnesota is providing a curbside, drive-thru vaccination option to keep kids up to date without needing them to come into the clinic…

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Boulder Community Health Uses Epic to Connect With Health System Partners, Patients During a Pandemic

Boulder Community Health is using Epic to stay connected to other health systems and to patients. Boulder’s vice president and CIO, Michael Jefferies, said that this collaboration is key to fighting COVID-19…

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Identifying and Addressing Inequities Intensified by COVID-19

The initial waves of COVID-19 infections revealed stark disparities in outcomes for different populations. In Michigan, for example, African-Americans make up just 14% of the population, but account for over 40% of deaths from COVID-19. Clinicians at Spectrum Health worked to change that trend by bringing targeted preventive care to their most at-risk patients before cases peaked in their area…

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Caring for Patients at Home During a Public Health Crisis

To make room in the hospital for patients with COVID-19 and send patients home sooner, UNC Health Care launched an enhanced home health program. A nurse conducts in-home check-ins using Haiku, Epic’s mobile app, and facilitates MyChart virtual visits with providers at the hospital…

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Patients Use MyChart to Check for COVID-19 Symptoms at Home

Many patients are staying home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus but have questions about their health. To give patients peace of mind and help them evaluate what kind of care they might need, health systems including Community Health Network in Indiana are using self-triage tools for patients, including a symptom checker in MyChart. In the first few weeks of using these tools, patients at Community Health Network checked their symptoms and received care guidance more than 3,000 times…

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Going the Extra Mile to Help Patients in Rural Areas Get Started with Telehealth

Telehealth is an important resource for patients who can’t make it to the clinic – including those who are homebound, live in rural areas or, more recently, who are socially distancing due to COVID-19. To help people living in rural areas access care virtually during the pandemic, Guthrie in Pennsylvania began a “white-glove” telehealth service to give patients one-on-one support before video visits…

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New to the ICU: Clinicians Step Out of Their Specialties to Support Patients With COVID-19

At hospitals that are hit hard by COVID-19, primary care physicians, residents, and other clinicians have stepped up to support patients in intensive care units. Health systems are using simplified charting in Epic and providing training to help these clinicians get up to speed quickly…

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Music, Standing Ovations, and Flamingos: Celebrating When Patients with COVID-19 Go Home

Even as frontline healthcare professionals work around the clock to treat patients with COVID-19, they’ve found time to celebrate each patient who is recovering from the disease and is ready to go home from the hospital…

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Epic AI Helps Clinicians Predict When COVID-19 Patients Might Need Intensive Care

There are thousands of data points about hospitalized patients from the machines that monitor heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and more – far too much information for the human brain to process quickly. A predictive model in Epic helps clinicians make sense of all of that data so they can intervene faster when a patient’s condition is likely to worsen…

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Tracing Patients’ Steps to Minimize COVID-19 Infections Within Hospitals

Methods for clinicians to identify affected or exposed patients early are critical in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Infection control tools, like automatic updates about test results and a history of who in the hospital a patient has interacted with, can help clinicians take the right precautions and isolate patients as quickly as possible.

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An Unlikely Pairing in Uncommon Times: Governor Recruits Healthcare Software Company Epic for COVID-19 Response

State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) staff in Wisconsin are working with implementation experts from a healthcare software company to coordinate COVID-19 information and services for nearly 6 million people…

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Sending Healthy Moms and Babies Home Faster

For many uncomplicated deliveries, moms can safely recover from delivery in the comfort of their own homes after a brief stay in the hospital. When Penn Medicine in Philadelphia realized some labor and delivery patients were staying in the hospital longer than necessary, they started a project to improve their discharge processes. When COVID-19 cases started to rise, they launched their “Healing at Home” program early…

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Expecting Moms Stay Safer at Home With Prenatal Visits in MyChart

Many of us feel a sense of heightened anxiety about COVID-19—and that’s especially true for expecting moms. There’s still a lot that we don’t know about how the new coronavirus affects pregnant women and their babies, but the CDC recommends that they stay home if possible to avoid being exposed. Healthcare providers are helping by providing virtual prenatal care using Epic…

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Caring for Patients Experiencing Homelessness During a Public Health Crisis

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, public health authorities recommend staying at home whenever possible, isolating from others, and calling a healthcare provider if you have symptoms. People experiencing homelessness, however, often live in places where social distancing isn’t possible, leaving them at higher risk of getting the disease. They’re also more likely to have chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk of having severe complications from COVID-19…

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Epic and Local Organizations Partner to Do Good Across the Community

Organizations across our local community here in Dane County, Wisconsin, are stepping up to support those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis is leaving some of the most vulnerable in our community at risk, and an unprecedented number of people are without work or access to food. Here are some of the ways Epic is pitching in to help…

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Nurses Use Time-Savers in Epic to Care for Patients with COVID-19

Nurses across the United States are preparing to care for more patients as the number of people affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to climb. Health systems, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Houston Methodist, and NYU Langone Health, are making adjustments in Epic to help nurses adapt to the increased need for care…

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Patients’ Records Go with Them Aboard USNS Comfort

On March 28th, the USNS Comfort docked in New York Harbor, sent from its home port in Virginia to care for patients with milder cases of COVID-19 and make room in New York City’s intensive care units. The ship is used to provide medical care during times of critical need, such as natural disasters, in the United States and abroad. A few weeks later, the ship was equipped with donated Epic software…

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Using Virtual Visits Within Hospitals to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

To keep clinicians safer while caring for patients with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), health systems are turning to virtual visits for patients—even those who are already in the hospital. At organizations including Nebraska Medicine, patients can use MyChart Bedside and clinicians can use their phones or tablets to start video chats from separate locations … Continue reading “Using Virtual Visits Within Hospitals to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19”

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Artificial Intelligence from Epic Triggers Fast, Lifesaving Care for COVID-19 Patients

One of the most challenging things about COVID-19 for healthcare providers is how quickly some cases of the disease become life-threatening. A predictive model from Epic is helping doctors intervene with life-saving care before hospitalized patients deteriorate…

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Former Office Transforms into Daycare for Children of Healthcare Workers

The community in Dane County, Wisconsin, is coming together to support those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak. Together, UW Health, UnityPoint Health‒Meriter, and Epic opened a temporary childcare center for the children of essential healthcare staff. Epic is donating the use of its building on Tokay Blvd. in Madison, as well as nutritious meals cooked by the Epic culinary team…

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How to Get a Hospital Expansion or Surge (Alternate Care) Facility Ready for Patients with COVID-19

Based on experience working with health systems, public health authorities, and state and local governments around the country—including the Javits Center in Manhattan and McCormick Place in Chicago—Epic developed a project plan for hospital expansion and “surge” (alternate care) facilities to quickly increase hospital capacity to care for patients with COVID-19. Epic community members can refer to instructions on the UserWeb for creating a customized project plan. Epic is providing the software, staff, and strategy at no cost…

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2 Weeks, 80,000 Beds: Helping Hospitals Prepare for COVID-19

COVID-19 pandemic is threatening hospital capacity across the U.S. Epic has helped hospitals and public health authorities prepare to add up to 80,000 beds nationwide by donating software and staff to transform existing hospital areas and stand up new field hospitals to treat patients with COVID-19…

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Find Room to Care for More COVID-19 Patients

Healthcare organizations across the United States are preparing to treat an influx of patients. To accommodate the growing number of patients who require immediate attention, it’s essential for hospitals to utilize all of their rooms and beds and to move patients as quickly and safely as possible. Epic community members are using the following tools and best practices to manage capacity…

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Epic and University Hospital of New Jersey Partner to Lead Statewide Surge Response

Epic and University Hospital have rapidly turned Meadowlands Exposition Center into a healthcare facility. Epic is a healthcare software company, University Hospital is New Jersey’s state hospital and Level I Trauma Center, and Meadowlands is now Secaucus Federal Medical Station. Epic provided a plan and staffed a team with experience from other surge installs around the country. In the midst of caring for a growing number of patients with COVID-19 within their own organization, University Hospital staff outfitted the new facility. Epic is donating software and services to the effort…

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Telehealth and Remote Care to Combat COVID-19

As the world responds to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, telehealth is a critical resource. With e-visits and video visits, organizations across the Epic community are freeing up health system capacity to respond to COVID-19 cases and slowing the spread of infection by giving patients the option to stay home rather than visit the clinic. Here’s how several Epic community members across the United States and in outbreak epicenters are using telehealth to address COVID-19…

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McCormick Place Converted into a COVID-19 Alternative Care Facility in Chicago

Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center is being repurposed as an Alternate Care Facility (ACF) and will use Epic—the medical records systems used in the majority of Chicago’s healthcare facilities—to provide clinicians with immediate access to their patients’ chart. The new ACF, one of the largest in the nation, is designed to help address an anticipated surge in hospitalizations around the state related to COVID-19. It accommodates low to moderate acuity COVID-19 patients so that Chicago’s existing hospitals and healthcare workers can serve more severe cases. Epic is providing software and services at no cost…

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Epic Partners with New York Hospitals for COVID-19 Patients Treated at Manhattan’s Javits Center

New York has long been a city that comes together in times of crisis. While its healthcare workers fight on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, Epic, the electronic health records provider for over half of all Americans, is partnering with the New York Department of Health and NYC Health + Hospitals so that when patients arrive at Manhattan’s Javits Center, their medical information…

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Using Phone Screening to Evaluate Patients with Symptoms of COVID-19

If you call the emergency hotline at Providence St. Joseph Health in Washington, Cone Health in North Carolina, or one of over 160 other Epic community members across the United States, a triage nurse might ask you the same set of questions to check for symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Health systems around the country are using new standard questions and adapting workflows to screen more patients for the virus over the phone…

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Telehealth Visits Explode as COVID-19 Changes What it Means to See the Doctor

Virtual care is a new reality for doctors, nurses, and other clinicians in a socially distanced world. Millions of people had their first virtual appointments over the past few weeks. For more than 60% of the U.S. population, those appointments likely used software from Epic, the nation’s largest electronic health records company…

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