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Cleveland Clinic’s EHR Optimization Automates Donor Referral

The EHR optimization and donor referral tool aims to streamline the cumbersome donor referral process.

EHR optimization and automated donor referral EHR tool is set to improve the way clinicians identify and evaluate potential eye, organ, and tissue donors at Cleveland Clinic, the organization announced.

Following a successful pilot at Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital, the hospital’s researchers helped launch the solution throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system in late February.

According to Cleveland Clinic, one individual donation can save up to eight lives and improve the health of up to 50 others.

Every US hospital must promptly refer all deaths and imminent deaths to the designated organ procurement organization (OPO), per the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The current manual process is often time-consuming and it commonly results in clinician burden and frustration.

Hospital staff must identify each potential donor, contact the OPO, and then communicate the needed information to begin the donation process.

“Our clinical and technical caregivers at Cleveland Clinic are continuously working to make improvements to identify candidates for organ donation,” Brent Hicks, senior director of digital and clinical health at Cleveland Clinic, said in a statement.

“This resulted in significant workflow and time-saving improvements but still required a lengthy phone call to the OPO. With the new process, a phone call is no longer required. The entire donor referral process is now automated and in use in all of our northeast Ohio locations,” Hicks continued.

Utilizing a Cleveland Clinic Caregiver Catalyst Grant to boost innovation, a team of Cleveland Clinic nurses, end-of-life professionals, and health IT experts joined forces to automate the previously strenuous process. The group maintained patient safety, privacy, and quality, the health system noted.  

“We pride ourselves on providing high-quality, safe care, and keep looking for ways to innovate,” said Meredith Foxx, executive chief nursing officer at Cleveland Clinic. “Working closely with Lifebanc and Transplant Connect, we made improvements to our organ-donation process to benefit patient care, which translates into our nurses spending more time at the bedside with the patient and their family.” 

Cleveland Clinic leveraged its two partners, Lifebanc and Transplant Connect, to integrate the solution. Transplant Connect facilitates roughly 75 percent of US organ transplants from deceased donation, the company said.

Researchers at Cleveland Clinic are constantly developing solutions to improve and optimize the EHR.

The health system recently developed a COVID-19 risk assessment model and made it available to all Epic Systems EHR customers around the world to help allocate healthcare resources, advise individuals when to get tested, and boost patient care.

Cleveland Clinic researchers analyzed clinical data from over 11,000 Cleveland Clinic patients. Researchers collected this information from patient EHRs and Epic’s patient portal. The data helped create a risk assessment tool that can predict whether an individual may have coronavirus.

“We have developed the first validated prediction model that can forecast an individual’s risk for testing positive with COVID-19 and then simplified this tool while retaining exceptional accuracy for easy adoption,” Lara Jehi, MD, chief research information officer at Cleveland Clinic, said at the time.

Cleveland Clinic researchers integrated a patient self-assessment test into the patient portal. Assessment questions related to common COVID-19 symptoms and potential virus exposures. Following the test, the tool leverages additional patient portal demographic data to tally a score.

“We are excited to make this tool available to the 250 million patients around the world who have a record in Epic,” Jehi continued. “The ability to accurately predict which patients are likely to test positive will be paramount in effectively managing a patient’s care as well as allocating our resources.”

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