CalvertHealth Monitors Coronavirus Cases Using MEDITECH's BCA Solution
CalvertHealth used MEDITECH's Business and Clinical Analytics (BCA) solution to create a new Coronavirus monitoring dashboard.
In an effort to stay ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, the Maryland Department of Health mandated on March 3 that all healthcare organizations report back to the state on any patients who present with symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); this information would help the state to better track the spread. These daily reporting requirements, which went into effect the next day, posed a challenge for hospitals and clinics: How do we gather the necessary data and provide it to the state in a timely manner? And how do we create a report in under a day?
To meet the daunting challenge of pulling together the necessary data within 24 hours, the infection control department at CalvertHealth (Prince Frederick, MD) looked to its Business and Clinical Analytics (BCA) solution and their business application specialist to build a coronavirus monitoring dashboard. The team was already using BCA for its reporting features and was able to leverage datasets they had previously created to quickly build the new dashboard and meet the next-day reporting deadline requirement.
CalvertHealth’s COVID-19 Monitoring Dashboard
In the dashboard, patients with COVID-19 symptoms are grouped into two types: ILI (influenza-like illness) and ARI (acute respiratory illness). ILI patients are those with a fever over 100 degrees, and a cough or sore throat. ARI patients show at least two symptoms that include cough, fever/chills, rhinorrhea/nasal congestion, shortness of breath/respiratory distress, or sore throat.
To build this unique dashboard in a one-day timeframe, the application specialist used specific SQL queries for each symptom on the back end to pull the required data from the information captured in the EHR. Based on the number of symptoms present, patients were categorized as having either an ILI, an ARI, or both. CalvertHealth is required to report back to the state health department for any patient that presents with both or just one of those symptoms.
Using an Excel spreadsheet template provided by the state health department, an infection control practitioner at CalvertHealth exports the patient/result data from the BCA dashboard into the Excel spreadsheet and forwards that information to the Maryland Department of Health each day. Pulling the data directly from an interactive BCA dashboard saves time. But it also improves communication by enabling them to share information within CalvertHealth and to report it directly to the state. Since the dashboard updates automatically throughout the day, the task of compiling reports has not become an unnecessary burden on staff.
Fields captured in CalvertHealth’s BCA COVID-19 Monitoring Dashboard, based largely on state of Maryland requirements, include:
Date of birth
Medical record number
Discharge date (if known)
Days on ventilator
Patient employer (This field serves to notify if the patient is a healthcare worker.)
Outcome at discharge (death)
CalvertHealth’s Hospital Occupancy Dashboard
Additional mandated state reporting continued to be requested given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just days later, CalvertHealth was tasked with developing a second BCA dashboard to address a new requirement from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System (MIEMSS). This request — which also came with a one-day turnaround time — focused on reporting hospital bed availability in acute, pediatric, and ICU settings, as well as overall occupancy. This information must be submitted by 8 a.m. each morning, and helps state officials move patients to hospitals and clinics that can best accommodate them, in the event of capacity issues.
Using previously built dashboards and datasets, CalvertHealth’s analyst was able to create this new dashboard in an hour and capture nearly all mandatory fields, with the remaining fields easily extracted from MEDITECH’s EHR.
CalvertHealth has been quick to respond to the public health crisis. In addition to their dashboard reporting, the organization has taken proactive measures to protect patients and staff: cancelling classes and programs, instituting new visitation policies, and postponing all elective procedures and non-emergent outpatient services that take place inside the hospital.
Meeting the tight reporting deadlines set by government agencies during this historic pandemic is a challenge. Lisa Carlson, application specialist at CalvertHealth, commented, “We get these notifications on a Tuesday and need to report by Wednesday. We have to be extremely flexible and responsive to these requests. This gets the job done for us.”
Public Health Reporting Requirements Likely
As the pandemic evolves, healthcare organizations should prepare for the likelihood that more states will require daily coronavirus reporting. Though CalvertHealth chose BCA to meet their reporting needs, organizations can use any number of analytics solutions from multiple vendors to support public health reporting efforts. For example, MEDITECH customers who do not have BCA can use their Data Repository to run SQL queries, create grids, and export data into another tool, such as Microsoft Excel. Here, they can aggregate or pivot the data to get the views they need.
Regardless of your EHR or analytics solution in place, we recommend all healthcare organizations have a plan to meet public health reporting requirements as necessary. For those using MEDITECH, we welcome you to contact your support team if you require any assistance with meeting reporting requirements. Our COVID-19 customer resource page also includes BCA Guidance, as well as directions on where to go for additional support.