Using EMR data in the fight against COVID-19

Nurses pointing at the computer
13 May 2020

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) is arming its clinicians and workforce managers with a real-time dashboard which shows at a glance how many COVID-19-positive children are inpatients at its two hospitals, and in which wards, and where any affected outpatients reside.

“As a precaution, more children are being tested for COVID-19 and this means we need an easy way to see who has been tested and whether they are positive or negative,” said Michael Dickinson, Director of Clinical Integration at SCHN.

“This dashboard allows us to easily look at this information, as well as the overall numbers of tests we do daily, to help us to plan for the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) that our ward and emergency department (ED) staff will need.

“It also helps us to review the locations of our assessment clinics as well assisting in the planning for resources required to operate these clinics.”

At its hospitals in Randwick and Westmead, SCHN’s 7000-strong team treats more than 50,000 NSW children as inpatients every year, and deals with more than 100,000 ED presentations and one million outpatient service visits.

Believed to be the only one of its kind across NSW Health, the COVID-19 Dashboard pulls data from multiple sources, including the SCHN electronic medical record (EMR), as well as NSW Health Pathology data.

“The dashboard also shows us if a patient has co-morbidities such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy or cystic fibrosis,” said Mr Dickinson. “It gives us all-important predictive analysis of usage and need.”

Should the response to COVID-19 ramp up, Mr Dickinson said he hoped they could integrate StaffLink demographic data, showing at which hospitals clinical staff are located and where they reside, which may help with any future need for redeploying clinicians to cope with the crisis.

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