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Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Return Home Nearly Two Days Sooner

Saint Luke’s Health System improves arrhythmic drug monitoring using decision support, shortening the length of stay by 38%

Atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm abnormality, can put patients at risk for strokes or heart attacks but can be effectively treated with medication. To help patients who are hospitalized for atrial fibrillation return home to continue their recovery as soon as possible, Saint Luke’s Health System, based in Kansas City, Missouri, gives physicians guidance in Epic as they determine whether a patient is a good candidate for these medications. They’ve now shortened the average length of stay by nearly two days.

To determine whether a medication is safe to prescribe, providers need to complete prerequisites such as ordering a pharmacy consult and evaluating patients’ ECG readings, kidney function, and medications. When providers place an order to admit a patient for atrial fibrillation medication treatment, Epic guides them through these prerequisites and through selecting the correct medication and dosage.

Nurses use a dashboard to monitor all patients with atrial fibrillation and make sure that each person receives medication as soon as possible.

After the medications are administered, nurses can track patients’ ECGs to make sure their heart rhythms are stabilizing as expected. Epic warns them of any abnormal ECG values so they can adjust medications if needed. 

“We were able to put all the relevant information regarding these medications in a single location, making it more efficient for physicians to make a medical decision, ” said Dr. Sanjaya Gupta with Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. “We also streamlined the entire medication review process in Epic to improve communication between physicians, nurses and pharmacists.”

Epic community members can learn more about Saint Luke’s program from their UGM slides and audio.