How Community Hospital Used Technology to Contain MERS

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The patient with the first confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus was admitted to Community Hospital in Munster, Ind., April 28.

The virus has proven both highly contagious and highly dangerous — 93 of the 401 confirmed cases of MERS around the world have resulted in the patient's death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, thanks to Community Hospital's use of technology, along with established best clinical practices, the hospital was able to keep the virus from spreading while treating the MERS-infected patient, according to an article in InformationWeek.

As soon as the MERS diagnosis was confirmed, the hospital turned to its electronic medical record to see which staff members had come in contact with the patient. Because every interaction with a patient is logged into the system by the hospital's staff, Community Hospital was able to quickly identify the staff members that were at risk for infection, according to the report.

"Every interaction with a patient is logged into the EMR," Alan Kumar, the hospital's CMIO, told InformationWeek. "We keep an active log of every interaction — even when housekeeping goes into a room, just to keep a running flow. When you run this many beds, you need a very sophisticated flow dynamic system."

The hospital also used its real-time locating system badges that all hospital staff, patients and visitors wear to ascertain who had come into contact with the infected patient. This technology was supplemented by the hospital's video surveillance system to ensure no contact with the patient was overlooked, according to the report.

The 50 people that had come into contact with the patient tested negative, but were sent home and were monitored closely by the hospital. None of these 50 have tested positive for MERS so far, according to an ABC News report.

The MERS-infected patient was released from the hospital Friday, considered by the hospital to be fully recovered, according to ABC News.

More Articles on EMRs:

The Case for Medical Scribes in Emergency Care
Global EMR Market Hit $23B in 2013, Will Continue to Rise
When a "Health System" is Defined by Data, Not by Buildings: North Shore-LIJ's Interoperability Investment

 

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