How NYC Health + Hospitals equipped its 1,000-bed field hospital with EMR, hospital tech 

Jackie Drees - Print  | 

NYC Health + Hospitals and the New York Department of Health teamed up with Epic earlier this month to launch an EMR system across its 1,000-bed Javits Center field hospital for COVID-19 patients. 

In addition to the EMR, the New York City-based temporary hospital features other standard equipment for patient care, including mobile diagnostic imaging machines, pharmacies and some lab equipment, according to Kim Mendez, RN, chief health informatics officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. 

The New York District of the Army Corps of Engineers converted the 1.8 million-square-foot convention center into an alternate care facility in early April. As of April 19, 995 patients have been treated at Javits, according to CNN.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provided 50 laptops and 300 iPads for Javits Center staff to use the EMR, which is linked to NYC Health + Hospitals' Epic system. By connecting with the health system's EMR, Javits Center clinicians can register patients, use Epic's interoperability network to look up patient medical histories taken by other New York City hospitals, document clinical notes and discharge patients, Ms. Mendez told Becker's Hospital Review. 

Here, Ms. Mendez discusses how NYC Health + Hospitals stood up the EMR at Javits Center as well as her top priorities with leading the project. 

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length. 

Question: What has been the biggest IT challenge with establishing the temporary hospital? 

Kim Mendez: The infrastructure at Javits Center allowed the opportunity to use our current mobile device options and clinical applications such as Canto, an Epic app that allows providers to access the EHR via iPad. Ensuring EMR security and regulatory compliance was at the forefront of our minds, and NYC Health + Hospitals maintained governance over these areas during the implementation and now support phase. This included maintaining our enterprise active directory and system access standard processes.

Our biggest challenge was establishing a process to onboard hundreds of new care providers while still ensuring our EMR security and regulatory compliance standards were met. This was done as we scaled up additional surge capabilities as required by the pandemic. Once the process was established, we were able to turn around access quickly while adhering to our enterprise standards.

Q: How has your IT team been involved with the project? Are they on the ground to tend to issues? 

KM: NYC Health + Hospitals participated as a team member with NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, our EMR vendor Epic and the military staff on the ground. Our technology team had initial discovery/assessment rounding and hands-on support on-site at Javits Center as we stood up the EMR option. We have assigned a project manager to provide ongoing liaison and communication with the team and escalate concerns as our technology team transitioned to new surge capacity priorities. Ongoing training for new staff is provided by Epic and the military staff, and NYC Health + Hospitals maintains support for onboarding new staff and help desk support.

Q: As CIO, what has your No. 1 priority been with standing up IT operations at the center?

KM: Key areas of priority included assessing the core needs, identifying the scope of work, assessing and allocating resources, and ensuring safety within a secure environment. Our technology, security and EMR team sprinted to launch a viable, safe solution, in collaboration with Epic and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene within just a few days. We are mission-driven to provide healthcare to our community and take pride in transcending boundaries to do so.​

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review has reached out to NYC Health + Hospitals for an update on the number of beds occupied at Javits and will update this article when the information becomes available. 

More articles on EHRs: 
New Jersey health department, University Hospital tap Epic for EHR at state field hospital 
Mayo Clinic develops EHR tool to track contact between employees and COVID-19 exposure
Viewpoint: Once viewed as tech burden, EHRs may now be considered an asset in coronavirus pandemic

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