Coronavirus: How EHRs Are Supporting Clinicians

For updated COVID-19 resources for health IT developers and other stakeholders, click here.

Coronavirus-badge-300As cases of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus continue to be identified in more and more locations, clinicians are understandably concerned with the challenge of diagnosing potential cases among their patients presenting with flu-like symptoms. EHR developers have prepared for crises like this, and resources embedded in EHRs can help.

Most EHRs already have screening tools created during past public health emergencies, such as Zika and Ebola. Functionalities such as travel advisories and links to evolving CDC guidance on coronavirus have also been built in to systems. The EHR prompts clinicians to ask patients about relevant symptoms and travel history, prompting isolation precautions when warranted. Healthcare organizations need only implement straightforward modifications, such as incorporating templates with CDC screening questions and documentation for potential exposures to clinician workflows. 

To ensure that providers are aware of these tools, EHR developers have been undertaking multi-pronged communication efforts, reaching out to patient safety, clinical, and quality measures staff at customer organizations, making sure clinicians have an EHR workflow that follows CDC guidance. For smaller practices that may not have all functionalities ready to deploy, and/or may not immediately download updates, teams are working through updates and directly communicating clinical best practices. 

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