A joint effort by Epic and University Hospital has helped to turn the Meadowlands Exposition Center into a health care facility.
In addition to caring for a growing number of patients with COVID-19 within their own organization, University Hospital staff outfitted the new facility dubbed the Secaucus Federal Medical Station. Meanwhile, Epic, a health care software company, provided a plan and staffed a team with experience from other surge installations around the country.
Epic is also donating software and services to the effort.
“Governor Murphy directed health systems across the state to work together to create more beds for patients,” said Richard Tunnell, chief innovation officer of University Hospital. “Epic provided us with their road map and expertise. Now, a few days later, we have a new health care facility up and running.”
New Jersey has become a COVID-19 hot spot and needs thousands of additional beds to meet demand. The new facility is located near several hospitals that are using Epic’s software and just across the Hudson River from central Manhattan, where beds are in critically short supply.
The facility provides space to treat lower-acuity patients and is also equipped to care for patients with milder cases of COVID-19, freeing up resources in regional intensive care units.
Epic’s interoperability can automatically query other health care organizations to bring patient data to the new facility. Over three days, University Hospital and Epic built a system to register, admit and discharge patients:
- Day 1: Green light at 9:30 a.m; Epic and University Hospital teams meet virtually and Epic team delivers plan for admitting patients and assigning beds;
- Day 2: Epic and University Hospital teams begin system setup;
- Day 3: University Hospital’s on-the-ground staff and Epic meet virtually to walk through the process for patient flow; setup is complete by 3:00 p.m.
On the fourth day of the project, April 8, the first patients were admitted.
In addition to operating the new facility, University Hospital serves as the regional coordinator for the northern part of the state at the request of the New Jersey Department of Health and will coordinate the transfer of patients between “brick-and-mortar” hospitals and the field station.
“We hope that the need for facilities like these is short-lived as we work together to slow the spread of the virus,” said Eric Helsher, the Epic lead for both the Secaucus Federal Medical Station effort and the nearby field hospital at Manhattan’s Javits Center. “But as long as this kind of facility is necessary, we’re standing them up in a matter of days.”