Safety Technologies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Technology Innovation Center (TIC) partnered with several teams and developed technologies allowing clinical visits and rounding to continue, while keeping all involved parties as safe as possible.

Virtual Patient Rounds

Physicians attending patient rounds at Maryland and Washington, D.C. Johns Hopkins hospitals can do so virtually to limit COVID-19 exposure. MyChart Bedside, implemented at Johns Hopkins prior to the pandemic, provides admitted patients with an iPad that includes a patient-facing electronic medical record solution. To initiate virtual visits through MyChart Bedside, physicians prompt an audible notification to the patient on their hospital-issued tablet. The push notification indicates that the rounding physician is available for video chat and links the patient directly to a private Zoom meeting room. The team faced several challenges implementing this solution, including Zoom security issues, security policies for patient tablets, pre-existing Epic workflows, and determining the best way to alert patients that the provider is ready to meet. Ultimately, Epic, MyChart Bedside, and Zoom were integrated to make these virtual rounds possible.

Patient Pass

Since June 2020, patients and visitors visiting any Johns Hopkins Medicine outpatient location are pre-screened using Patient Pass, the ambulatory COVID-19 screening application. This mobile app sends the patient a unique link to the screening tool a day before their appointment via text message. Patients complete a risk questionnaire which presents them with either a green badge (clearance to proceed to their appointment) or a red badge (indicating the patient needs to call their provider to discuss their symptoms). Upon arrival at the clinic for their appointment, patients display their green clearance badge from the app so they can skip any lines or delays from in-person questioning. This app was designed and developed in record time by the Technology Innovation Center. More details on how the tool works, including multiple screen images and an FAQ appear here: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus/digital-screening.html.

Patient SMS

The TIC created the Johns Hopkins Patient SMS Platform in partnership with Telemedicine. This web-based application allows providers, care coordinators, and schedulers within the institution to send secure text messages to Johns Hopkins patients. This tool was designed, built, and went live within a two-week time period in direct response to COVID-19 closures. Patient SMS gives patients quick and easy access to video encounter links and is secured by the patient successfully answering common validation criteria such as date of birth. The app is also used for waiting room management, allowing patients to wait in their vehicles for their in-person appointments. Johns Hopkins providers use the texting platform to communicate with patients regarding registration information, wait times, and alerts.

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