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COVID-19 UPDATES

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

By Walk-Up or By Drive-Thru: Patients Given Flu Shot Options to Prevent a Wisconsin ‘Twindemic’

Flu season is here, and like the rest of 2020, it’s a bit different from expected. Flu shots are even more critical this year to help prevent a seasonal “twindemic” of both the flu and COVID-19. In Wisconsin, a state hit hard by a fall surge in COVID-19 cases, UW Health is using MyChart and several convenient flu shot clinics to encourage vaccinations…

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How to Perform Thousands of COVID-19 Tests per Day with Epic

When Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS) began working with the state of Connecticut on mass COVID-19 testing, their task was to provide tests to 39 skilled nursing facilities and to state employees across the Constitution State. In all, they now conduct around 2,100 tests per day throughout the health system for patients who might have COVID-19 but be asymptomatic. Their staff use Epic to connect personally with each patient who has a positive result…

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Using Video Visits in Epic to Care for Patients with COVID-19 While Limiting Exposure

When COVID-19 cases started appearing in Florida in March, the University of Miami Health System anticipated high volumes of patients with the virus. To keep staff safer and conserve PPE by limiting trips into patients’ rooms, UHealth quickly set up a live video feed at a nurses’ station using Epic so nurses can closely and safely monitor patients…

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Interpreters Join Video Calls to Help Patients with COVID-19 Talk to Their Doctors

Being in the hospital can be scary and stressful, especially if you and your care team don’t speak the same language. To make sure that patients understand their providers, Rush University Medical Center staffed interpreters for 63 languages in addition to their typical Spanish and Polish interpreter staff from March through June. Using video visits, … Continue reading “Interpreters Join Video Calls to Help Patients with COVID-19 Talk to Their Doctors”

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The Wheels on the Bus Go Round to Bring Preventive Care to Kids During COVID-19

Doctors at Lake Country Pediatrics wanted to keep kids from falling behind on regular preventive care while in-person visits were postponed during the coronavirus. They decided to try a kid-friendly twist on traditional home visit. They gathered all the supplies needed for well-child checkups and hit the road—in a school bus. On the bus, clinicians … Continue reading “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round to Bring Preventive Care to Kids During COVID-19”

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Providing a Safety Net for Vulnerable Patients During COVID-19

Imagine you’re 80 years old, living alone in a beautiful, but expensive metropolitan area. Sometimes you have trouble affording your prescriptions, and the pandemic has made it difficult, even frightening, to get to the pharmacy. Then, you get a call from a case worker at your doctor’s office asking how they can help…

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Observational EHR Data are Helping Combat COVID-19

If you are diagnosed at Lee Health in Fort Meyers, Florida, with COVID-19 symptoms, you’ll be given a blood thinner as part of the standard treatment protocol. That’s because Lee’s physicians used the data in their Epic healthcare software to verify early reports linking COVID-19 to blood clots.  Their analysis showed that otherwise healthy patients … Continue reading “Observational EHR Data are Helping Combat COVID-19”

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Empowering Patients to Plan for Care at the End of Life, in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond

In a pandemic, you can’t eliminate the risk of getting ill, but you can decide what treatment you’d want in an emergency. End-of-life planning is a standard part of care at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, a city where 96% of residents who die have a plan documented, and it’s become even more essential during the COVID-19 pandemic…

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Using Epic to Quickly Respond to Public Health Guidance in a Pandemic

UC San Diego Health was on the front lines of a new disease when COVID-19 hit California in February. With an integrated Epic EHR, they were able to continuously disseminate best practices to clinicians and staff as researchers learned more about the virus and guidance changed…

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‘Annie’s Place’ Cares for Patients’ Kids While Parents Visit the Doctor

Patients who don’t have childcare resources often delay doctor’s appointments and other procedures—and this issue disproportionately affects moms. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened this barrier to care by stretching existing childcare options and discouraging patients from coming in to the clinic. Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas aims to help parents make their appointments with Annie’s Place, an on-site daycare for patients’ kids that they plan to open this fall…

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Doctors Uncover COVID-19 Connections to Blood Clots, Dementia

Treating a disease no one fully understands is one of the greatest challenges facing doctors who care for patients with COVID-19. With no playbook for treatment, best practices are a moving target. Doctors are looking for answers to questions like, “Is COVID-19 causing blood clots?” or “Is there a link between dementia and COVID-19?” Epic’s SlicerDicer gives doctors the power to investigate questions and visualize trends instantly so they can zero in on important findings that change the course of treatment…

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Eliminating Manual Transcription of COVID-19 Lab Results Cuts Wait Time in Half

Having COVID-19 test results as fast as possible is critical so patients can get treatment while taking precautions to avoid spreading the disease. By communicating almost instantaneously with an external lab through an electronic connection, Mackenzie Health in Ontario, Canada, reduced the time it takes to get results by more than 50%. Now, results are typically available in less than 24 hours…

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Patient Peace of Mind with Clinic Safety Measures Using Epic

Many preventive care visits, like cancer screenings and immunizations, were postponed due to COVID-19. To encourage patients to come in for important routine care, healthcare organizations are using Epic to share updates on safety measures that are in place and reschedule preventive care visits…

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Helping Patients Stay Connected When Family and Friends Can’t Visit the Hospital

Hospital patients at Mayo Clinic use tablets with the MyChart Bedside application and video chat software to stay connected to both their care teams and their loved ones, even when visits are limited to prevent the spread of COVID-19…

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Applying Experience from Past Epidemics to COVID-19

In 2014, Nebraska Medical Center created a novel biocontainment unit and a patient screening workflow to prepare for future outbreaks. Those strategies prepared the hospital in advance for the Ebola and MERS outbreaks, and now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nebraska Medical Center is relying on them again…

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Increased COVID-19 Testing for a Safer University Environment

The University of California San Diego will be conducting many classes virtually this fall, with about 30% of students remaining on campus with additional safety precautions. To give students a safer in-person learning environment…

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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…

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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…

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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 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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