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Epic Outcomes

Premature Babies Grow Strong with Epic

University of Utah Health improves neonatal weight gain

Mighty oaks grow from little acorns, and for premature babies, consistent, high-quality nutrition is critical for establishing a healthy weight. At University of Utah Health, babies receive the nutrition they need with improved feeding workflows using Epic. In the 3 months post-implementation, 100% of premature babies—up from fewer than 40% before implementation—regained or exceeded their birth weight by two weeks old.

When a provider orders feedings, she can quickly review the baby’s nutrition needs from the chart. Then, she chooses whether the baby needs breast milk, a mixture of milk and supplements prepared by a nurse, or a mixture prepared by University of Utah’s milk lab. The volume of milk or fortifiers provided by each feeding and the nutritional value is automatically calculated in Epic, so it’s simple for the provider to select the right dose and verify that the baby receives the needed nutrition without time-consuming manual calculations.

When a nurse receives the prepared dose delivered to the bedside from the milk lab, she scans a bar code label that ensures that the baby receives the right nutrition and automatically documents the feeding.

Since going live with the workflow in Epic last September, “our rate of growth failure is nearly zero and overall growth has improved for every patient on the unit,” said provider champion Dr. Jennifer Murphy. University of Utah’s other ICUs are considering similar improvements for all patient nutrition workflows.

Epic community members can learn more about strategies for neonatal feeding and milk tracking on the UserWeb.