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Mastering the Art of the Handoff in Epic

Nebraska Medicine saves lives by standardizing documentation

Healthcare is a team sport and Dr. Justin Birge is an important player in improving how patients experience transfers between facilities at Nebraska Medicine. He’d previously received enough scrawled paper notes to know that a small improvement in communication could go a long way. With standardized transfer documentation in Epic, he and his teammates reduced the mortality index by nearly a quarter at their hospital, which translates to five lives saved.

To achieve these outcomes, a multidisciplinary process improvement team streamlined communication using a template for transfer notes that saved physician time and nurse documentation, with the most important information at the top.

“Using simple, existing tools in Epic, we met all of our goals, transferred more patients, and cared for sicker patients,” said Dr. Birge, the process improvement team leader.

Since Nebraska Medicine started using the new process, 93% of transfer notes use the template. The process improvement team received clinician feedback that they were happy to use the new process because the clinical benefits and efficiency improvements were obvious, and because clinicians provided input about what transfer documentation should include.

Epic community members can learn more about Nebraska Medicine’s success from their UGM presentation slides and audio on the UserWeb.