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Rush Powers Digital Health at McCormick Place COVID-19 Facility

With partnership from Rush and other health organizations, the city of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health have created an alternate COVID-19 care facility at McCormick Place.

While local health care institutions including Rush continue to take on and care for the most acute patients, the alternate care facility at McCormick Place will be able to care for low-acuity COVID-19 patients, alleviating some of the burden on local hospitals. This allows hospitals to continue focusing on the patients most in need during this public health crisis. Over 500 beds have already been created in the McCormick Place space, with more to come as COVID-19 continues to spread.

Rush has been an essential partner for the Chicago Department of Public Health — or CDPH — in building out the space, contributing both our clinical expertise and innovative technology to the facility. Top Rush leaders have been consulted on the strategy and plan for the project.

And to ensure continuity of care for patients, Rush’s version of Epic electronic medical record software will be the health record system used on site at the McCormick Place facility. Rush will also be providing data analytics services to the low-acuity facility, to allow for capacity tracking and management of COVID-19 cases.

Mayor recognizes Rush

It is crucial in these times to have a medical record system that allows care teams to communicate clearly and easily, as well as plan for care that is in the best interest of the patient. A health record solution such as Epic enables providers to review and record clinical information, as well as to share this information seamlessly with the patient. Because the McCormick Place facility is an independent care facility in a formerly non-clinical space, implementing an electronic health record system will allow the facility to ramp up care quickly without sacrificing patient safety and continuity of care.  

Rush’s clinical IT expertise and Epic-based platform strategy enable us to quickly expand a basic version of Rush’s version of Epic to the McCormick Place facility and provide integration and data analytics for COVID-19 cases. Another added benefit of Epic is the Share Everywhere feature, available on Rush’s version of Epic that allows patients to link their records from other health institutions to allow for more seamless care.

In a recent press conference, Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised Rush’s advanced preparedness as key to the McCormick Place effort: “Rush ... [has gone over and above] ... not only have they contributed their expertise, but they’ve already converted part of their hospital to care for those who are most in need, and have contributed the electronic medical system that will be used [at the McCormick Place facility].”

Sharing critical data

In addition to providing an operational foundation for clinical work, Rush’s participation also paved the way for new data sharing and collaboration. Rush is collaborating with the CDPH to share critical data about COVID-19 cases, as well as supply and staffing updates. This sophisticated reporting process will share Rush analytics platforms with CDPH. It will also, under public health guidance, allow other Chicago-area hospitals to follow this example in complying with new public health standards.

"The decisions we make are driven by our I CARE values, which include innovation and collaboration. Our contribution to this effort puts those values into practice, working together with the community to provide patients the care they need." said Dr. Shafiq Rab, senior vice president and chief information officer of Rush University Medical Center.

Rush has an advanced digital health strategy that has played an important role in the COVID-19 crisis, and our technology teams have been critical in supporting our preparedness efforts. Below are some of the digital initiatives that Rush has led during the COVID-19 crisis: 

  • On March 4, Rush added “concern for novel coronavirus” to our list of virtual care video visit modules.
  • ​Rush was the one of the first health care systems in the Chicago area to offer in-house COVID-19 testing, beginning March 16, and now is able to perform about 3,300 tests a week. The Medical Center since has added a new point-of-care test, which now allows Rush to test 2,800 samples per week in addition to the in-house testing, for a total of about 6,100 weekly tests.
  • Rush has provided iPads at bedsides and allowed providers the option to convert non-urgent appointments to phone or video instead of rescheduling.
  • Rush developed innovative tracking tools for COVID-19, including the utilization of our innovative Guardian program, a real-time tracking of regional Influenza like illness and a forecasting model based on Center for Quality, Safety, and Value Analytics data to estimate regional COVID-19 case volumes.

All of these digital health tools are components of a multimodal digital transformation approach that brings the best information and care to our patients. Rush is proud to be a leader in digital health during this crisis and is committed to supporting patients and providers as the situation evolves.

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