Knowledge is Power in Ebola Battle

As the world health community strives to contain and control Ebola Virus Disease in Africa, questions remain in America about the initial Dallas hospital encounter with Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan and the role of EHR systems in screening for the disease. Last month the CDC and the National Coordinator for Health IT held a webinar to get feedback on improving EHR performance in Ebola screening. The approach we feel best accomplishes that goal is one we’ve advocated for several years - supplementing the EHR with best-in-class, evidence-based clinical decision support.

Ebola containmentPreparation and Process
US healthcare providers have adopted a new sense of urgency in preparing to deal with potential Ebola cases in their communities. The steps they are taking include updating infection control protocols, reviewing patient isolation and quarantine procedures, and ensuring safe specimen handling methodologies are implemented in the laboratory. But a key part of preparation for any hospital should be a review of its clinical decision support content to make sure it integrates the most current medical evidence about Ebola Virus Disease.

Like so many hospitals in the region, when Methodist Health System in Dallas learned that the first case of Ebola in the US had been identified in their city, they started preparing for a potential population health event. Those preparations included reviewing their order set library and contacting ProVation Medical to inquire about new evidence-based Ebola content for clinical decision support. In order to provide the most current medical evidence and content available, Dr. Adam Lokeh, Vice President of Clinical Development and Informatics at Wolters Kluwer Health, worked with Methodist Health System and UpToDate® Decision Support to initiate a screening order set template for Ebola Virus Disease. After thorough editing and review for validation of most current evidence and best practices, we released the ‘Ebola Evaluation and Initial Management of Returned Traveler’ order set template to customers and the public.

A World of Resources
Before Ebola landed in the United States, Wolters Kluwer recognized the significance of the outbreak raging in Africa and responded to what the World Health Organization was calling an international public health emergency. In August, Wolters Kluwer responded by participating in the US National Library of Medicine’s Emergency Access Initiative, providing 55 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins medical, nursing and allied health journals for a free access period. Wolters Kluwer also offers free articles and resources on Ebola through the Lippincott website, including a blog post by Betsy Todd, MPH, RN, CIC, Clinical Editor at American Journal of Nursing, entitled Ebola: A Nurse Epidemiologist Puts the Outbreak in Perspective, which received national media attention.

Wolters Kluwer also offered medical librarians and researchers Ovid MEDLINE® Expert Searches on Ebola for quick access to evidence-based Ebola Virus Disease articles. UpToDate has made its Ebola diagnosis and treatment and its epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical manifestations articles freely available to healthcare providers and the public in English and Spanish versions, and free access to UpToDate is now available in Liberia and Sierra Leone to aid the medical communities there.

“This is a global health concern that requires the global health care community to take action,” said Jayne Marks, Vice President, Publishing, Wolters Kluwer, Medical Research at the time of the announcement. “As an NLM Emergency Access Initiative partner and leading medical publisher, Wolters Kluwer is taking swift action to make available trusted medical content to practitioners and infectious disease researchers worldwide.”

Ebola virusThe Wolters Kluwer response to Ebola continues with Lippincott Solutions, which provides evidence-based content for ProVation Care Plans. Lippincott has a free website,, providing key basic nursing information from the Lippincott Solutions product suite. Entries on the site include the Ebola Virus Infection Disease and Conditions entry from Lippincott Advisor. From Lippincott Procedures there are six evidence-based articles, including Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, Droplet Precautions, Airborne Precautions, Isolation Garb Donning and Isolation Garb Removal. From Lippincott Professional Development there are four Hospital Mandatory courses – Understanding Infection Control, Hand Hygiene Compliance, Handling Hazardous Materials, and Bloodborne Pathogens.

“We are all in this together,” said Judy McCann, Chief Nurse, Wolters Kluwer, Professional and Education.  “For Ebola and other highly contagious diseases, the healthcare community must band together to ensure that prevention is part of the cure.”

In keeping with the Wolters Kluwer commitment to assist healthcare providers, we at ProVation Medical are making our new Ebola screening order set template available for download to hospitals everywhere. The template can be easily integrated into the order set library of a hospital’s CPOE system.

The ProVation Medical Ebola Evaluation and Initial Management of Returned Traveler order set template and a variety of our other evidence-based order set and care plan templates are available for download here.