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Epic Outcomes

Coronavirus Disease 2019: Epic Sends Automatic Travel Screening Update to Spot New Cases

Infectious disease experts work with Epic to design screening based on guidance from the CDC

On Wednesday, January 22nd, Epic sent an update to its standard travel screening questionnaire to remind clinicians and other front-line staff to ask patients about recent international travel. If the patient has traveled from China or has symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019, the provider is advised to start isolation precautions to contain potential infection. This update was developed in collaboration with biocontainment experts, infectious disease physicians, and other clinicians using Epic, with guidance from the CDC.

On Monday, before the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was publicly announced in the U.S., the Epic Travel and Communicable Disease Advisory Board initiated a conversation about updates to the travel screening in Epic to detect possible cases of the COVID-19.

  • Healthcare organizations automatically get the new COVID-19 alert within Epic’s travel screening activity.
  • Epic representatives are reaching out individually to organizations to verify that they have a workflow in Epic that follows the CDC’s guidelines.

“Rapid response to an outbreak is critical to contain it, get patients the treatment they need, and protect other patients and staff,” said James Doyle, Epic Clinical Informatics R&D Lead. “Organizations using Epic can be confident they’ll be covered by the latest guidelines from the CDC in consultation with leading experts.”

The Epic Travel and Communicable Disease Advisory Board is made up of infectious disease clinicians practicing at healthcare organizations using Epic. Members of the board include Dr. George Diaz and Rebecca Bartles, MPH at Providence St. Joseph Health in Washington State, the healthcare organization that treated the only identified case of COVID-19 in the United States, as well as at organizations in major travel hubs, such as Dr. Anna Yaffee at Grady Health System in Atlanta.

“Clinicians on our travel advisory board define the standard for the rapid translation of public health outbreak notifications into actionable warnings,” said Dr. Chris Alban, a physician at Epic. “Organizations using Epic automatically get advisories in their system as soon as they’re created. Health systems can respond quickly with this configuration that’s been vetted by the experts.”

Epic community members can get the latest information and updates on the UserWeb, or learn more about Epic’s standard tools for travel screening to combat exposure to infectious disease outbreaks.