Epic has launched a new mobile app designed for those on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic who might not have immediate access to an electronic health record.
WHY IT MATTERS
Designed in collaboration with OCHIN – the nonprofit health technology organization focused on innovating health equity in underserved areas – and the Washington State Health Care Authority, the scalable app is meant to support emergency care in “nontraditional healthcare settings such as tents, community centers and schools,” according to Epic
The COVID-19 Preparedness App enables patients to self-screen and healthcare volunteers to triage using smartphones, broadening the capacity for emergency response in rural or underserved communities.
Meanwhile, by collecting patient demographic information the app can help epidemiologists and government health officials track the spread and containment of coronavirus.
Patients can also sign up for a MyChart account, enabling coordination of follow-up care, according to the company, and integration with Epic’s Care Everywhere interoperability platform can send data to EHRs at other healthcare facilities.
THE LARGER TREND
The COVID-19 Preparedness App was first developed to help Washington, the first state to be hard hit by the pandemic, prepare for a big increase in patients. Now it’s being shared with states nationwide, to enable more connected care at ad hoc emergency triage sites such as tent-based fever clinics. It’s meant to enable more care to be provided away from crowded hospitals and clinics – and to expand capacity in rural areas where access may be limited.
ON THE RECORD
“A retired nurse, or any other volunteer or staff, with her own smartphone can be up and running in minutes,” said Epic CEO Judy Faulkner in a statement. “This allows states, counties, and health systems to increase capacity quickly, which will be helpful especially in hard hit and underserved communities. It has been meaningful to work with Washington state and OCHIN to help patients during this crisis.”
“This is an unprecedented, innovative solution for rapidly building capacity in the face of this growing public health emergency,” added Abby Sears, CEO at OCHIN. “We applaud the leadership of the state of Washington and the generosity and foresight of Epic as we stand together in this crisis.”
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