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University Hospital of New Jersey Partners to Lead Statewide Surge Response

Epic's experience from field hospitals and surge areas nationwide helps rapidly transform Meadowlands Exposition Center into Secaucus Federal Medical Station

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.

“Governor Murphy directed health systems across the state to work together to create more beds for patients,” said Richard Tunnell, CIO of University Hospital. “Epic provided us with their roadmap and expertise. Now, a few days later, we have a new healthcare facility up and running.”

New Jersey has become a COVID-19 ‘hot spot’ and needs thousands of additional beds to meet demand. The new facility is located near several hospitals using Epic’s software and just across the Hudson River from central Manhattan, where beds are in critically short supply. It provides space to treat lower-acuity patients and is also equipped to care for patients with milder cases of COVID-19, freeing up resources in regional intensive care units.

Over three days, University Hospital and Epic built a system to register, admit, and discharge patients. Epic’s interoperability can automatically query other healthcare organizations to bring patient data to the new facility.

  • Day 1: Green light at 9:30 AM. Epic and University Hospital teams meet virtually. Epic team delivers plan for admitting patients and assigning them beds.
  • Day 2: Epic and University Hospital teams begin system setup.
  • Day 3: University Hospital’s on-the-ground staff and Epic meet virtually to walk through the process for patient flow. Setup is complete by 3:00 PM.
    On Wednesday last week, the fourth day of the project, the first patients were admitted.

In addition to operating the new facility, University Hospital will serve as the regional coordinator for the northern part of the state at the request of the New Jersey Department of Health and will coordinate the transfer of patients between “brick-and-mortar” hospitals and the field station.

“We hope that the need for facilities like these is short-lived as we work together to slow the spread of the virus,” said Eric Helsher, the Epic lead for both the Secaucus Federal Medical Station effort and the nearby field hospital at Manhattan’s Javits Center. “But as long as this kind of facility is necessary, we’re standing them up in a matter of days.”