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Rapid Response to COVID-19: Health Informatics Support for Outbreak Management in an Academic Health System



To describe the implementation of technological support important for optimizing clinical management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Materials and methods

Our health system has confirmed prior and current cases of COVID-19. An Incident Command Center was established early in the crisis and helped identify electronic health record (EHR)-based tools to support clinical care.


We outline the design and implementation of EHR-based rapid screening processes, laboratory testing, clinical decision support, reporting tools, and patient-facing technology related to COVID-19.


The EHR is a useful tool to enable rapid deployment of standardized processes. UC San Diego Health built multiple COVID-19-specific tools to support outbreak management, including scripted triaging, electronic check-in, standard ordering and documentation, secure messaging, real-time data analytics, and telemedicine capabilities. Challenges included the need to frequently adjust build to meet rapidly evolving requirements, communication, and adoption, and to coordinate the needs of multiple stakeholders while maintaining high-quality, prepandemic medical care.


The EHR is an essential tool in supporting the clinical needs of a health system managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

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