After finishing graduate school, Rebecca was hired as a technical writer with Epic in Wisconsin, working on many of their user training materials. Rebecca then worked at a company that transitioned to Epic. She has experienced Epic from the provider side and patient side. Here is her Epic story:
Epic is a game-changer. Following my move to Nashville, the company I worked for went from paper to an EMR. They had several different EMRs in their various markets. There are so many benefits to standardization. With Epic, you’re building a user community that can make bigger changes—beyond the hospital level, beyond the market level—using the information you’re pulling from Epic to address patient needs on a much broader scale. For research purposes in particular, that takes health care to a new level.
My Favorite Feature
As a patient, I really liked MyChart. When I was pregnant with my son, it was super-easy to schedule appointments, check my labs, view my ultrasounds, all in one convenient place. I could communicate with my doctor when I had questions that didn’t warrant an office visit or when I didn’t feel like hanging on the phone with a nurse—I’d just shoot it through MyChart. New features are always being added but with MyChart you can pay your bill, schedule appointments—it’s a really nice hub. You can even pull in older records from other places, which is great.
There’s also a new feature called ChartSearch. It’s like a Google search within a patient’s record. You can search for a medication, procedure, or even search using a phrase you might have written in a progress note. You can use it if you’re looking for something you don’t need very often—so instead of searching through the menus, you can use ChartSearch to locate them.
For both patients and staff, the seamless patient record is probably the biggest benefit. When I was in the hospital, there was a certain question regarding some test results and the clinic had not sent the information. I was able to pull up the results through the MyChart app on my phone and show them. Things went much faster. The mobile app provides that information on-the-go and helps to continue that care wherever you go.
Participate and Trust in the Process
Epic has a ton of bells and whistles and that can be intimidating. They also have a very well thought out methodology and if you’re not used to that, it can seem a little different than some of the other IT processes you may be used to. Since I didn’t have a clinical background, training was a little intimidating. I like Epic’s ‘train-the-trainer’ model—train those who ultimately train the end-users—because they will have a lot more experience with the clinics. I would look to them for those clinical questions and in turn, I could help them on the Epic side. It’s a really nice give-and-take.
Epic focuses on the user experience, so there’s a lot of customization that can be done at the user and clinician levels. If you don’t like the way the screen displays, the system may suggest hiding certain activities that aren’t used very often. There are some fun things, too, like backgrounds and themes that you can choose. You can trend and gather patient data, and physicians, clinicians and staff don’t necessarily have to be recording it to access it.
Give Epic a chance. Go-live will be hectic, but once you settle into it and make it work for you, it will be a real advantage—it’s faster, more efficient and you’re not having to spend as much time digging for the information you need.