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MI Hospital Reduces EHR Use in ICU with Epic Telemedicine Tool

Beaumont Hospital is leveraging an EHR-integrated Epic telemedicine tool to reduce EHR use and boost clinical efficiency in the ICU.

An Epic EHR-integrated telemedicine tool will reduce EHR use for providers.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Michigan-based Beaumont Hospital is utilizing an EHR-integrated Epic telemedicine tool to present critical health data about ICU patients on monitors outside hospital rooms in an effort to improve clinical efficiency and reduce EHR use for providers.

The hospital used a $10 million donation to fund the EHR integration project as part of an effort to better leverage EHR patient data to improve care delivery in the 20-bed unit.

Hospital leadership gathered input from nurses, doctors, patients, and family members when deciding how to best use the donation to improve hospital operations and patient care delivery.

Beaumont Hospital Heart and Vascular Intensive Care Unit Director Nicholas Tepe, MD and his colleagues implemented the Epic telemedicine solution to help providers access and view patient health data in a faster, better-organized, and more efficient way.

By presenting the most important and relevant EHR data for all patients on monitor screens outside their rooms, Tepe and his colleagues intended to enable providers to assess patient conditions at a glance during rounds without requiring that they click through a patient’s medical chart in the EHR system.

The monitors are specifically designed to display patient information in a way that mirrors how clinicians think.

Already, providers and patients are reaping the benefits of the health IT investment, according to Beaumont medical staff.

“It is easy to read the data that we most need to see,” Beaumont Hospital Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery Marc Sakwa, MD told Crain’s Detroit Business.

Very few hospitals utilize EHR-integrated telemedicine software to improve patient data viewing for providers in this way, according to Beaumont IT experts.

Prior to implementing the EHR-integrated monitors, healthcare providers at Beaumont often needed to click through several pages of data in the Epic system to find the health information they wanted.

“The regular Epic system, you needed to click 13 times to get to the chest X-ray we needed to see,” said Tepe. “Now we click once to get where we need. Deeper dives into data comes up as a long, scrolling table five feet long that has everything lined up vertically by time. You see everything happening now and at any time in the past.”

Now, hospital staff making rounds in the ICU can quickly see the most important patient lab test results, blood flow, and medications the patient has been administered, among other critical data.

Individual patient monitors also display patient names, the names of all providers part of the patient’s care team, diagnosis, number of infusion drips, last medication dose, glucose level, heart rate, and other data—including imaging data such as X-rays.

This effort to improve clinical efficiency and provider satisfaction by modifying the way EHR data is displayed echoes the advice of University of Illinois Chicago Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Health Information Sciences Andrew Boyd, MD.

In an interview with EHRIntelligence.com, Boyd discussed how improving EHR data visualization can significantly boost EHR usability. By prominently displaying the most relevant health data to providers on specialty-specific EHR interfaces, Boyd said healthcare organizations can reduce EHR use and put the focus back on face-to-face patient care delivery.  

“If you can figure out a design interface for a hospital where they only need to spend five minutes looking up the data on a patient instead of 15, you’re saving them time that they can spend with the patient,” said Boyd.

Health IT developers and healthcare organizations should continue to collaborate to optimize EHR interface design for usability and clinical efficiency improvements.

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