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Epic Outcomes

Find Room to Care for More COVID-19 Patients

Hospitals are closely managing capacity, repurposing units, and adding beds to prepare to treat more 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.

Tracking the number of available beds across hospital areas and locations helps managers and transfer center nurses plan where to admit or move patients. Dashboards in Epic help managers keep tabs on each hospital area’s current capacity and the availability of beds in negative pressure rooms, which are needed for patients who have or might have COVID-19. The negative pressure room dashboard in Epic includes a feature based on work from Stanford Health Care to show COVID-19 cases by department and hospital.

Ochsner Health System and other Epic community members use a system-wide capacity dashboard in Epic to see which of their hospitals have capacity for more patients. As demand for hospital beds increases, transfer center nurses can use this dashboard to send patients to a hospital with available beds.

For healthcare organizations with many hospitals or hospitals in multiple regions, setting up a capacity command center, such as the one created by Yale New Haven Health System, centralizes management for greater efficiency. From the command center, managers track the patient flow of hospitals in each of their regions, transferring patients as needed to help with patient flow and get patients care more quickly.

For a couple of years, Mercy, based in St. Louis, has used television monitors in centralized hubs to show dashboards, including Epic dashboards, for managing capacity and transfers, which is today helping as they monitor throughput.

For more guidance on capacity management for COVID-19, Epic community members can refer to the Managing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) With Epic white paper.

Photo caption: The Capacity Command Center at Yale New Haven Health System serves as the hub for managing patient flow.