NYU Langone Health builds measles alerts in EHR

New York City-based NYU Langone Health installed measles alerts within its Epic EHR system to identify patients who are unvaccinated and those who have been potentially infected, according to Reuters.

When a patient visits any NYU Langone Health hospital, the EHR system notifies the physician or nurse if the patient lives in an outbreak area, based on their zip code. The alerts in the patient's electronic record also prompt conversations to have with patient visitors, who may also have been exposed to the measles virus.

NYU Langone Health treats patients in both Rockland County, N.Y., and Brooklyn, N.Y., the two epicenters of the outbreak. The goal of the measles alerts is to identify all incoming patients and anyone who steps foot into one of NYU Langone Health's hospitals who need to be assessed in order to contain the worst U.S. measles outbreak in 25 years, Reuters reports.

New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System also instituted a similar program last week. The health system is not only raising awareness about identifying patients but also hospital visitors who may have been exposed to the measles virus.

Epic developed the alerts after hospitals began requesting help to address the measles outbreak, reports Reuters. The EHR vendor released a how-to guide in April that incorporates many best ideas from other hospitals who are fighting the outbreak.

In the guide, Epic instructs health systems on how to use EHRs to identify and reach out to patients who are unvaccinated, according to Reuters. The guide also gives tips for physicians on how to screen, track and treat measles patients.

Hospitals in Illinois, Texas and California are also using Epic's tools to combat the measles outbreak.

Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health implemented a screening questionnaire to help identify patients who may have been exposed to measles. The health system plans to use Epic's software to build a program that increases measles vaccination coverage, Jeffrey Silvers, MD, Sutter Health's medical director of infectious disease, told Reuters.

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