Using EHRs to track patients in real time

Health systems can develop patient flow analytics, which can result in faster, more comprehensive care and a quicker release from the hospital.
By Nathan Eddy
12:13 PM
Using EHRs to track patients in real time

Update: HIMSS20 has been canceled due to the coronavirus. Read more here.

In this era of value-based care, it is imperative that hospitals excel at patient flow. This entails serving appropriate patients rapidly, effectively, and efficiently as they move through different facilities, departments, and stages of care.

At University of California, Irvine Medical Center, there has been a drive to improve the health system’s ability to provide the right patients with the right care in the right setting.

Better identification and tracking

Using a combination of technology enhancements, analytics and improved workflows, UCI Health created better patient identification and tracking, an enriched patient discharge experience and improved bed supply and demand balance.

Benefits included increased cross-disciplinary collaboration, better patient visibility, access and satisfaction, and improved appropriateness of transfers.

“Here at UCI we use Epic and this EHR provided us with a huge database and forms that helped us pull data and explore our options and opportunities to improve the patient flow from A to Z,” said Iman Othman, RN, director of patient flow at University of California Irvine Health.

Othman, who is scheduled to speak about patient flow March 10 at HIMSS20, explained her team was able to create a specific dashboard that provided them with instant view of patient flow in real time.

Repairing gaps in patient flow

“In addition, we were able to build reports that improved our ability to repair all possible gaps in patient flow,” she said. “To make sure we identify and place patients properly, we created a specific criterion in Epic that will help the nurse supervisor place patients in right place, right time, and right care.”

Othman said this criterion is extracted from the multidisciplinary documentation, like level of care, plan of care, required equipment or services and procedures needed.

“It would be great if we could have a technology or phone application that communicate the bed demand from all care areas, and communicate current needed discharges to doctors and charge nurses in real-time,” she added.

Early discharge the next day

Othman also noted that at UCI they have an initiative called VIDA, or very important discharge appointment, an initiative that will build on identifying possible patients that can be discharged early the next day.

“We have a multidisciplinary team that works with the patient and the family to make sure all needed care is done and discharge will take place by 11 a.m. next day,” she explained. “We believe in early communication and the patient’s right to be involve in their care.”

Iman Othman will share more perspective patient movement technology at HIMSS20 in a session titled “Go with the Flow: Technology-Enabled Patient Movement.” It's scheduled for Tuesday, March 10, from 4:15-5:15 p.m. in room W311A.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209