Three common mistakes hospitals make when implementing Epic

Imagine this scenario: Your go-live date for Epic is fast approaching. Your IT team is ready to flip the switch. From a project standpoint, everything is on schedule and moving along. Then a team member approaches you because they’re confused about the process and unhappy that they didn’t get to provide input.

Project readiness—the checklist of technical tasks leading up to implementing a new piece of technology—is only one aspect of an Epic implementation. Healthcare organizations also should consider their operational readiness—ensuring their people are ready to interact with the new system. Below are three common ways healthcare organizations ignore operational readiness in their Epic implementation process.

1) Shoehorning existing processes into the system rather than designing new processes.

Healthcare organizations move to Epic because it allows them to break down historical silos and make the transfer of data more seamless. In order to make the system work in the way it was designed, processes should be created around system capabilities and the organization’s ideal future state. Consider this example: Physician orders in your legacy system may be used for clinical documentation purposes only, but in Epic, physician orders drive authorization workflows, inpatient-only notifications, referral-based scheduling, coding and charging workflows and other steps. A move to Epic necessitates looking at how existing processes need to change to work with the new system. The new processes could call for resources to be shifted from one department to another.

2) Equating training and education.

Training is essential in any new software implementation. Users should know how to log in, advance screens and perform the basic functions of the system necessary for them to do their jobs. But education is something else entirely. Education helps explain why the system is set up the way it is and how each user’s work fits in with the bigger picture. Educating operational leaders and associates on the new system is key to getting the people onboard and supportive of the changes coming their way.

3) Leaving the decision-making to the leaders.

Epic is designed to help bring down silos in clinical, financial, supply chain and revenue cycle departments, so healthcare organizations should bring together stakeholders early on in the conversion process to ensure everyone is on the same page. A strong cross-functional governance committee of both leaders and end users will help align departments on system terminology and other aspects of Epic implementation. An executive champion who is involved in the process can ensure a smooth change management process.

By Julie Roberts, CRCR
Vice President, CDM and Epic Services
Ensemble Health Partners

These materials are for general informational purposes only. These materials do not, and are not intended to, constitute legal or compliance advice, and you should not act or refrain from acting based on any information provided in these materials. Please consult with your own legal counsel or compliance professional regards specific legal or compliance questions you have.