Chart Hygiene Background

chart hygiene high reliability guide


RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) and Rutgers Health are implementing Epic as the single electronic health record (EHR) across the system.

Epic will provide immediate availability of critical clinical data, active decision support, and enhanced patient safety. These benefits bring us closer to our RWJBH’s Safety Together goal of zero instances of preventable harm.

As part of our Safety Together Journey, we have an opportunity and the duty to manage patient charts more effectively. Chart Hygiene – meaning, excellence in chart maintenance – is key to patient safety. A hygienic chart is:

  • Accurate
  • Up to date
  • Free from unnecessary clutter, bloat, or “noise”


By working together to keep our patient charts in Epic accurate, up-to-date, and free from unnecessary clutter, bloat or noise, Clinical Care Teams and Providers are better able to receive the signals of patient needs and provide whole-person care.

The goal of practicing excellent Chart Hygiene is to:

  • Improve provider and clinical care team efficiency and productivity
  • Leverage inherent safety and quality features of the Epic EHR
  • Enhance Patient Experience
  • Reduce instances of preventable patient harm

Chart Hygiene focuses on every step in the patient care process in Epic, from pre-visit workflows, through the rooming process, the provider visit, and even post-visit follow through. It involves key themes, marked by symbols, to help you recognize important processes, protocols, policies, behaviors, technical workflows, and concepts throughout the patient chart maintenance process.