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Sending Healthy Moms and Babies Home Faster

Penn Medicine uses Epic to identify new moms who can safely recover at home for earlier discharge

For many uncomplicated deliveries, moms can safely recover from delivery in the comfort of their own homes after a brief stay in the hospital. When Penn Medicine in Philadelphia realized some labor and delivery patients were staying in the hospital longer than necessary, they started a project to improve their discharge processes. When COVID-19 cases started to rise, they launched their “Healing at Home” program early.

Clinicians use obstetric tools in Epic to identify labor and delivery patients who qualify for early discharge. By discharging these healthy moms and babies earlier, Penn helps prevent potential exposure to the virus and maintain higher capacity in the hospital. Using the new discharge processes, Penn has reduced the average post-delivery length of stay by half for these moms. In the first two weeks of the program, they’ve already discharged 25 patients early.

To identify patients who are likely able to safely recover at home, Epic automatically searches the information in a patient’s chart for risk factors such as maternal age and diagnoses like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. If the mother and baby are at low risk for complications, a green check mark appears on the L&D patient list. Lab staff and patient educators can prioritize labs, education, and discharge planning to get patients ready to go home.

“Moms are excited to go home and start adjusting to life with the new addition to their family,” said Christine Vanzandbergen, a physician assistant and Penn Medicine’s vice president of applications. “Everyone on the care team is on the same page, so we’re able to all work together to help safely send moms home sooner.”

Penn plans to expand this type of program to reduce length of stay for patients in other care areas in the future.

Read more about Penn Medicine’s approach in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Epic community members can learn more about adjusting L&D workflows in response to COVID-19 in the Managing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVId-19) With Epic white paper, which is updated regularly with recommended build and workflows.