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New Technology Gives Nurses Quicker Access to Crucial Information

For several years, an extra set of nursing eyes – an electronic ICU (eICU), housed in the corporate building – have helped observe ICU patients in Baptist Memorial hospitals. This addition has been especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, because eICU nurses can see and talk with patients remotely, without having to dress in personal protective equipment (PPE). They have always had access to patient charts and vitals, however, that access is getting easier now.

Through Epic, the same technology that powers MyChart and Baptist OneCare, eICU nurses now can pull up ICU patients’ records, vitals and medication history at the click of a button, without having to toggle between several platforms.

“This can save us time, because users don’t have to get out of the monitoring system to see a patient’s chart,” explained Laura Beard, director of medical informatics and Baptist OneCare. “Every minute counts when it comes to patient care.”

Nurses in the eICU receive alerts through Epic if a patient’s vital signs change, allowing them to quickly notify on-site ICU nurses.

“We can proactively help the patient, get someone in there quickly to see what is going on,” said Stacy Hammett, telehealth service line administrator. “With the new system, we are not dependent on manual entry, which means less room for human error. We can also track patient trends on a larger scale than bedside nurses because we have vitals and medication records at our fingertips.”

The Epic functionality is also different for the eICU nurse.

“In the eICU, we can build out our screen to see specific vitals, medications, rounding data, for example,” said Stephanie Christopher, nurse manager of the eICU. “On the various screens, we have patient lists, watch lists and Epic monitoring with widgets and trends and one showing what the bedside nurses see on their screens.”

Baptist’s eICU nurses monitor the system’s 242 ICU beds. Epic monitoring in the eICU went live in September 2020.