How Epic predicts nurse staffing

Epic says it can predict nurse staffing needs and patient lengths of stay within its EHR.

One platform analyzes hospital capacity and forecasts future needs based on factors such as historical occupancy and planned operating room admissions, said Johnston Thayer, BSN, RN, a clinical informatics executive at Epic, in a May 21 video.

"You can compare those projections to your nurse schedules for the next few shifts to proactively address any looming staffing issues while you're making staffing decisions," he said in the video. "Workload scores and suggested assignments help you balance nurse staffing on each unit according to patient need."

Epic can also incorporate data from Cosmos, its clinical informatics research platform, to forecast lengths of stay using measures like age, diagnosis and any time spent in the emergency department. This program, Mr. Thayer said, can "keep discharge on track, show each member of the care team when their patients are expected to go home, and what needs to happen to get them home on time."

During an April protest in San Francisco over healthcare artificial intelligence, some nurses objected to Epic's staffing prediction tool, saying that if nurses don't log patient charts right away the next shift could be short-staffed and that the technology doesn't take into account time-consuming activities that can't easily be measured, like educating patient family members and getting ready for chemotherapy treatments before a patient arrives. Becker's reached out to Epic for comment.

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