Prior to Lovelace’s go-live, Phil had not worked with Epic, but he had a lot of experience with EMRs and transitioning to new systems. Here’s his Epic story:
Since go-live, how has your role been impacted by Epic?
I think that Epic clearly ties all of the disciplines together. There are several dashboards available to end-users; as an administrator, these dashboards are very helpful, giving me information right at my fingertips. Measures I wasn’t able to do with the older systems, I can now do in seconds with Epic.
Have you noticed any particular effect on patients, either directly or indirectly via patient care so far? Working in pharmacy and medications, I feel like Epic has made a very positive impact, particularly with the implementation of barcodes. Barcodes add a very strong layer of safety for medication dispensing and administering—and that’s made an immediate impact.
With Epic, everything that we do is instant, even if it involves other disciplines. If a provider enters an order I see it instantly. Once I check it, the nurses see it instantly. There are truly no delays in the system; information is updated on the record. Those efficiencies are really going to pay off as we continue to refine the system.
How have your colleagues and coworkers responded to Epic?
For now, some of them may be operating at a bit slower pace but that’s because the system is more robust. There are more things to pay attention to, more questions to answer. As with anything new you’re always going to be slow initially. Once those things become second-nature they’re going to see Epic makes their work faster and more efficient.
What would you say are the best benefits of using Epic?
As with any project of this magnitude there is a lot of upfront work and during go-live. My job will become more efficient; right now, we’re still working on adjustments here and there. Post go-live, it will take two or three months to really get the system—and its end-users—working at optimum efficiency. At that point, I think my job will get easier but I think we’re still in the learning curve.
Any advice for your Ardent family?
We work very closely with our counterparts in the other markets, and I’ve already advised them to make sure everyone is engaged throughout training, and then do as much extra training as possible. Get in the system and practice—you’ll have that option, so take advantage of it. It makes the go-live smoother and it will shorten the learning curve. Have a lot of patience. It’s a big system with a lot of moving parts. Let the system do what it’s been designed to do.
How did you initially feel about Lovelace migrating to Epic? And has that changed now that it’s live?
Since I’ve done a few other IT conversions like this, I was expecting more of the same: A new application with bells and whistles but at the end of the day, I was expecting the same-old same-old. As we went through the build and worked with the Epic team in Wisconsin, these people know my business, even without a pharmacy background, and we‘ve built a very good system. My eyes have been opened wide to how Epic is better than any other EMR system I’ve seen, and I’ve seen several. Nothing is perfect but I’m really excited to master it! Once everyone knows all the nooks and crannies, Epic is going to be a really big asset to the entire enterprise.