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Nurses Use Time-Savers in Epic to Care for Patients with COVID-19

Health systems are simplifying nurses’ workflows and sharing their changes with the Epic community

Nurses across the United States are preparing to care for more patients as the number of people affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to climb. Health systems, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Houston Methodist, and NYU Langone Health, are making adjustments in Epic to help nurses adapt to the increased need for care.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center made charting more efficient for nurses and made their changes available in Epic’s Community Library so other hospitals can adopt the same process. Nurses need to document only abnormal values, and some items for nursing documentation are optional or assessed less frequently—such as once instead of twice per shift—based on patients’ diagnoses. If a patient needs to be admitted, nurses use a shortened admission process that focuses on the most important information, such as low oxygen levels or fever.

Other initiatives to help nurses care for patients with COVID-19 include:

  • Increasing use of communication and charting tools on nurses’ phones.
  • Simplifying nursing documentation, such as for ventilator placement.
  • Giving nurses important information at a glance with patient summary reports. For example, NYU Langone Health shows nurses and other clinicians a one-page summary of each patient’s COVID-19-related health details, such as lab results, scans, and whether the patient is using a ventilator. NYU Langone Health made their settings available on Epic’s Community Library for other health systems to use.
  • Improving screening. Houston Methodist designed a questionnaire to help determine whether a patient who comes into the ED might have COVID-19, and it’s now available to other health systems in the Foundation System.

For more information on time-saving tips for nurses, Epic community members can refer to the Managing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) With Epic white paper, which is being updated daily with new guidance related to COVID-19.