A new mobile electronic health record (EHR) app that enables patient screening and triage outside of a typical health care setting is ready to deploy in Washington state. Created by EHR developer Epic in partnership with OCHIN, a health IT and innovation nonprofit, for deployment by the Washington State Health Care Authority, the new COVID-19 Preparedness App brings a new level of readiness, interoperability, and public health coordination to the frontlines of the current coronavirus pandemic nationwide.
“This is an unprecedented, innovative solution for rapidly building capacity in the face of this growing public health emergency,” said Abby Sears, CEO at OCHIN. “We applaud the leadership of the state of Washington and the generosity and foresight of Epic as we stand together in this crisis.”
The COVID-19 Preparedness App was built to help the state of Washington be prepared for a surge in coronavirus patients, and it is also being shared with other states. This powerful mobile EHR app supports patient care in a growing number of ad hoc emergency triage sites, reducing exposure by keeping screening outside of hospitals and clinics, and expanding capacity in rural areas where health care access is limited.
“A retired nurse, or any other volunteer or staff, with her own smartphone can be up and running in minutes. This allows states, counties, and health systems to increase capacity quickly, which will be helpful especially in hard hit and underserved communities. It has been meaningful to work with Washington state and OCHIN to help patients during this crisis,” said Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic.
Patients can use the tool to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms and check in to a local emergency care site. Citizen volunteers can use their own smartphones to help trained health care providers triage and care for members of their own communities when resources are scarce. And state public health epidemiologists will be able to monitor the system’s incoming data to track trends county by county and direct patient follow-up.
In addition, the tool’s unique integration with Epic’s Care Everywhere interoperability platform means that patients who are assessed in these clinics will be able to link to their existing medical records, improving overall care coordination. And its portability enables providers to reach and screen the most underserved and hard-to-reach patient populations, such as homeless and rural communities.