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London Hospitals Team Up to Care for Kids with Cancer During the Pandemic

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children teamed up with other London hospitals to provide a safe haven for kids

Cancer had already upended life for many of London’s children and their families—then COVID-19 disrupted the hospitals caring for them. To make room for patients with COVID-19 while providing uninterrupted care for some of London’s smallest, sickest residents, hospitals and public health officials across the city teamed up. They worked together to move patients from University College of London Hospitals to a dedicated ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in just one week.

Over the next month, about 200 children with cancer and other high-acuity conditions came to GOSH from UCLH and other area hospitals, which freed up space for a surge of COVID-19 patients. Behind the scenes, Epic helped ease the move by making it possible for providers to see patients’ history and continue their treatment plans without missing a step.

“We knew it would take teamwork from all sides to care for our kids in these unprecedented conditions,” said Mat Shaw, MD, GOSH’s CEO, who spearheaded the effort. “Setting up physical space and moving patients was one piece; another was making sure we had the infrastructure in place to give them continuous, high-quality care.”

With the addition of the patients from UCLH, GOSH was caring for 30% more children hospitalized for cancer, so pediatric oncologists from UCLH followed their patients to GOSH to help with staffing. Doctors at GOSH could resume caring for each patient immediately upon arrival because the patients’ treatment plans—planned medications, appointments, and more—was integrated into GOSH’s Epic system.

“Cancer is scary for children and their families at any time, and the pandemic just added a new dimension of complexity and stress,” said Dr. Victoria Grandage, a pediatric hematologist from UCLH who worked on the GOSH ward. “Being able to focus on the children and provide stability was crucial to their emotional and physical well-being.”

Epic community members can learn more in the Managing Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) with Epic documentation on the UserWeb.