In a prelude to COVID-19, the winter of 2017-18 saw nearly 80,000 flu-related deaths and 960,000 hospitalizations—a spike that quickly outpaced the number of available hospital beds and put immense pressure on emergency department (ED) clinicians throughout the country.
This year, the CDC is reporting that nearly 70% of states are already experiencing “high” or “very high” rates of flu activity, and admittances have hit levels not seen in over a decade. With numbers rising, emergency departments will soon be inundated with patients, leading to increased wait times, longer stays, stretched resources, and burned-out providers.
Having an emergency department information system (EDIS) and an enterprise EHR to help maximize efficiency and throughput are critical to allow for safe, quality care during times of high patient volumes, like during an outbreak of the flu.
Despite vaccination being one of the most effective ways to prevent the flu, less than half of adults under 65 have received an immunization this year. To make matters worse, public trust in health professionals remains at an all-time low. Once an honored source of advice on preventative care, the family doctor now faces misinformation and mistrust related to vaccines and their potential to improve patient outcomes.
While there’s no magic wand to change public opinion, hospitals utilizing an EHR have access to three simple tools that can serve as a secret weapon in increasing vaccination coverage for their communities:
At the outset of flu season, an EHR decision support rule can be implemented that prompts healthcare providers to ask patients about their flu immunization status before discharge. Between October and March, for example, when nurses log in to the EHR to chart or administer medication, an alert may “pop up” reminding them to ask patients about their vaccine status and spark a discussion over the importance of immunization.
An EHR can communicate with state registries to pull information about immunizations no matter where patients received treatment, including their general practitioner, local pharmacy, or a walk-in clinic, minimizing redundancy and helping to give providers a more complete understanding of health histories.
An effective EHR should allow ED staff to add locations in the system during peak periods when there are more patients than beds. For instance, when beds are set up in the hallways during a disaster or public health crisis, MEDHOST EDIS can add these locations to an intuitive display that tracks patients wherever care is needed.
MEDHOST emergency department information system (EDIS) is an effective tool to help move patients through the emergency department, allowing doctors and nurses to see more patients without sacrificing quality of care.
Our comprehensive EDIS platform provides several critical benefits during times of increased patient volumes:
To learn more about how MEDHOST can help alleviate bottlenecks and better support patients throughout the hospital, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.800.383.6278.