To keep clinicians safer while caring for patients with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), health systems are turning to virtual visits for patients—even those who are already in the hospital.
At organizations including Nebraska Medicine, patients can use MyChart Bedside and clinicians can use their phones or tablets to start video chats from separate locations within the hospital or emergency department. With these remote check-ins, clinicians can monitor a patient’s recovery and update medications while avoiding unnecessary exposure or using the limited supply of crucial personal protective equipment.
Geisinger uses tele-ICUs to closely monitor patients in the ICU from a central location, so providers are aware of minute-to-minute changes in a patient’s condition but need to visit each room less frequently.
For remote monitoring to be effective, hospitals need to identify and isolate patients exposed to the virus as early as possible. With inpatient tracking tools, such as a timeline of where a patient traveled and when, and reporting tools, such as Epic’s COVID-19 Pulse dashboard, clinicians can monitor where patients have been within the hospital and which other patients and providers might have been exposed.
To help patients and their loved ones stay in touch during isolation, Geisinger is using third-party applications for video chat on tablets already used in patient rooms for MyChart Bedside.
Epic community members can learn more about using virtual visits within the hospital in the Managing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) With Epic white paper, which is being updated regularly with new guidance related to COVID-19.