Virtua Health System

Responding to COVID-19: Reducing Documentation

Virtua Health used the COVID-19 crisis as an impetus to make changes to nursing documentation requirements to effectively handle new workflows.


  • With the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis, the team quickly identified and temporarily deactivated interruptive alerts that were overly burdensome and had no bearing on patient outcomes.
  • As a result, the team saved 5+ hours of nursing time per day, which could be spent dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and providing additional care to patients.

At the outset of the global coronavirus outbreak, New York and northern New Jersey areas faced a surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Virtua Health, a large health system located in southern New Jersey, had only a few weeks to observe and prepare.

Not only did Virtua need to find ways of increasing their hospital-bed and equipment capacity, but also new tactics to keep their clinicians ready and free from unnecessary distractions.


To keep their front-line nurses focused on safety and patient care, Virtua set out to reduce their nurses’ operational burden by decreasing the amount of time that nurses spent documenting. Virtua leveraged Phrase Health to identify frequent distracting alerts. Along with this inventory of alerts, Virtua used Phrase to identify the clinicians and departments most affected by these interventions.

Armed with a list of alerts, their associated firings, override rate, and providers affected, Virtua's team determined whether to deactivate the alerts or tweak their criteria. In the end, they disabled several alerts to temporarily not fire during COVID-19.


With Phrase, Virtua effectively shifted nursing priorities to align with the predicted COVID-19 surge.

The Virtua team's deactivation of five alerts allowed the health system to flex more time for patient care. Based on dwell time alone, deactivating 2,000+ daily alert firings saved over 5 hours per day for their staff.1 Given the reduction in dwell time and nursing documentation from this initiative, Virtua increased their capacity to handle new workflows

Once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, Virtua plans to use Phrase to assess which deactivated alerts should be reinstated and/or adjusted.

Virtua Health System

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