Webinar Recap: Patient Matching Provides Agility to Fight COVID-19

Recently, Verato hosted a special breakout session at the Becker’s Virtual HIT & RCM Conference to highlight the story of how M Health Fairview was able to create a dedicated hospital for COVID-19 patients while uniting their legacy EHR systems. 

M Health Fairview has over 12 hospitals in Minnesota and they are responsible for over 1.2 million patients in their community. Dr. Genevieve Melton-Meaux, M Health Fairview’s Chief Analytics and Care Innovation Officer, said that when the pandemic started, the health system leaders realized they had to craft a comprehensive and swift response to support their large community. 

“Our response was formed around a command center across our system and all of our facilities. We reimagined a lot of the care we provided. In particular, around COVID, it made sense to care for our patients together who had COVID to get them the most expert care,” she said. 

Prior to the pandemic, M Health Fairview Bethesda Hospital was a 50-bed facility providing long-term, acute care. The health system’s team worked day and night to transform the hospital, adding 35 intensive care beds and ventilators and expanding the total number of beds to 90. In less than a week, the facility became Minnesota’s first hospital dedicated to treating people with severe cases of COVID-19 and providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive treatments, including new therapies. 

“It created some very unique challenges with respect to logistics from an operations perspective, and of course with data,” said Melton-Meaux. 

Bethesda Hospital relied on a legacy version of the EHR system, due to be phased out. Given the quickly evolving crisis, the health system technology team didn’t have time to switch the hospital to the EHR in use at other Fairview hospitals. However, this meant that crucial information, such as lab results and medical histories, could be missing when patients were transferred in from other M Health Fairview locations. 

 
Eric Murray, Director of IT Data Solutions and Technology at M Health Fairview, discussed the dilemma that arose from transporting patients around the state and having disparate EHR systems. 

“Our primary goal is to provide world class care for our patients. Our ability to do that is dependent on making sure the care team has the most accurate data at their fingertips when making clinical decisions and giving recommendations,” he said. 

M Health Fairview had already been working with Verato (before the pandemic) on an enterprise data strategy to connect data from several Epic EHR systems following the merger of Fairview and HealthEast. With the new situation, they were able to complete a go-live of Verato UMPI within 24 hours, supporting the urgent patient care needs at Bethesda Hospital and creating a unified patient view to back analytics and care decisions. 

“We needed the ability to stitch together patients’ data across multiple systems and make that invisible to our end users. We were able to do that with Verato by taking the meta data that we had and enriching that with referential data to stitch those patients together,” Murray said. 

M Health Fairview’s data driven approach and unified EHR systems has enabled them to provide top notch care to their community as well as establish two revolutionary AI-enabled initiatives. The first, being an algorithm based off of chest x-rays to diagnose and predict the severity of COVID-19 in patients. 

“Using a combination of data, we validated it internally and externally and then we then put this into our electronic health record. Across our system, when a patient comes in, we can instantaneously know that the patient has a high chance of having COVID,” Melton-Meaux said. 

The second initiative arose during the second surge of COVID-19 in the late-fall when beds were running out. M Health Fairview created another unique algorithm to determine which patients were likely have more serious cases compared to those who might be safe to go home on oxygen in order to maximize their space. 

“We needed to be able to have that unified view of data for our data scientists or analytics users to be able to write those algorithms. Regardless of the source of data, whether it be multiple different EHRs, imaging systems, or lab results, to have a clear and accurate view of that data was a foundational piece,” said Murray. 

Watch the full recording here