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Epic, University Hospital of NJ open healthcare facility in former expo center

New Jersey’s Meadowlands Exposition Center has been redubbed Secaucus Federal Medical Station as EHR provider Epic and University Hospital teamed up to turn the facility into an IT-equipped field hospital equipped to care for patients with milder cases of COVID-19.

Epic provided the installation plan and is donating software and services to the effort, and alongside University Hospital will help staff the facility.

Located near several hospitals and just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, where beds are in critically short supply, the new healthcare facility is up and running within days, and also provides space to treat lower-acuity patients.

In addition to the physical facility, Epic and University Hospital worked together to develop a system to register, admit, and discharge patients, which provides a level of interoperability that allows for other healthcare organizations to bring patient data to the new facility.

By the fourth day of the project, the first patients were admitted to the field hospital, and University Hospital will work with the New Jersey Department of Health to coordinate the transfer of patients between traditional hospitals and Secaucus Federal Medical Station.

This past month, Epic 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.

Developed in collaboration with OCHIN 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.

Earlier this month, Chicago’s McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America, was transformed into an intensive care, a move to help free up hospital beds in the city to serve more severe coronavirus cases.

Across the pond in London, Cerner was recently tapped by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service to supply its Millennium EHR system for a 4,000-bed temporary hospital in London, the so-called Nightingale Hospital, which was set up within the 100-acre ExCel convention center.

The pandemic is not just straining the physical infrastructure of healthcare systems across the globe, but is also leading to shortages of personal protective equipment.

This has moved some of the world’s leading architects and design studios to offer their services, leveraging computer science, mechanical engineering, 3D printers and laser cutting to design and supply face shields and masks to healthcare professionals.

“Governor Murphy directed health systems across the state to work together to create more beds for patients,” said Richard Tunnell, CIO of University Hospital. “Epic provided us with their roadmap and expertise. Now, a few days later, we have a new healthcare facility up and running.”

“We hope that the need for facilities like these is short-lived as we work together to slow the spread of the virus,” Eric Helsher, the Epic lead for both the Secaucus Federal Medical Station effort and the nearby field hospital at Manhattan’s Javits Center, said in a statement. “But as long as this kind of facility is necessary, we’re standing them up in a matter of days.”

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: [email protected]
Twitter: @dropdeaded209

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