Karen Barichello, R.N. Gastro-intestinal Lab, BSA

Karen used Epic in a previous role. Here is her Epic story:

When I worked with Epic at another hospital, I really thought it was quite user-friendly. I worked with Epic in a procedural area, and they were able to build a program that made our workflow much, much improved. It’s very simple to navigate through the screens, and workflow improved. When a hospital is on Epic, it’s all on one system, saving a lot of time by not having to do things like noting orders and faxing things to pharmacies—the pharmacy can get immediate information from the chart. On the lab side, you get immediate notification when you have critical values, so it just cuts down on phone calls, and the nurse isn’t running to catch the phone and fax things; and when physicians use Epic’s orders sets correctly, nurses are not having to put orders in the computer as often. I feel like the patients liked the Epic system because they had their own patient portal they could log in to see their labs. Epic also streamlines the admission process. For patients that come in for readmission, it saves them from having to go into the database every time; all the information is already in there, so you’re just updating, and it saves so much time. They’re not having to go through the entire database each time, and patients are not getting asked the same repetitive questions. It makes admission process much faster, and that’s better for patients. Just having one specific system that everyone uses will be the biggest benefit.

My Favorite Feature
Epic is easy to use, easy to navigate, and having a system-wide feature for the hospital is very beneficial. Once the staff and physicians get used to it, they’ll like it. It just makes things faster and streamlines your patient care. As a floor nurse, you can create a personal census so your patients automatically pop up, and you can see what meds are due, or any critical lab values. There are so many things you can see immediately, just by logging in. And with Epic, the possibility of medication errors are reduced. When you scan the med, if it’s too early, the wrong med, the wrong dose, or wrong time—or if you scan the patient’s bracelet and it’s not the right patient—you are notified immediately. In order to give the meds, you would have to do an override, so it protects the patients, the provider, everybody. Epic won’t let you go past the screen, so that’s kind of an extra check. The core-measure feature is another favorite; nowadays, everyone has core measures and you can build those into Epic. As a nurse, it may ask you how many hours has your patient has been wearing a compression device, for example, or a reminder that your patient needs a beta blocker, etc., that might otherwise it get missed. If you’re not documenting how many hours your patient has been wearing the device, that’s an example of something that needs to be documented and it gives you a pop-up reminder to do so. You get reminders to ensure your patient is actually wearing them. And those little reminders ultimately benefit the patient.

Participate and Trust in the Process
Be patient and believe that the Epic system will help you. It’s only going to benefit you in the long run, and it will make your job easier. I do understand it’s hard to go from a paper system to this, but it does benefit the physician, the nurse, and of course, the patient. Epic will be beneficial to BSA; even though it is a change, it’s a change in the right direction. And I think it’s a fabulous change!