Carrie Stein and Patricia Zeller have been working together on clinical and operational readiness for Epic rollouts starting with ambulatory users, Howard County General Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital in 2013. Their collaboration continues through the current go-live at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and the July 1, 2016, go-lives at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Stein leads the work group representing the clinical and operational users who will use the new electronic medical record system; Zeller coordinates readiness requirements with the team of Epic builders who are creating the system for Johns Hopkins. Working as liaisons between their groups, they calmly shepherd these massive projects toward their set-in-stone deadlines, while navigating myriad logistical hurdles to make sure the correct systems are in place and people are trained to use them.
For the first rollouts, Stein and Zeller created detailed checklists and timelines. They eased fears and answered questions. Over time, they developed a sturdy system that serves as the scaffolding for one successful launch after another.
What they learned:
- Involve as many people as possible. Before the first go-lives, about 50 people took part in twice-monthly conference calls to work through details. Now, the number is close to 200. “Over the years, we’ve found ways to involve people much more,” says Stein.
- Get buy-in early. In October, Stein was asked if it was too soon to include Johns Hopkins Bayview’s human resources people in her Epic work group for the Dec. 1 launch. Her answer: It’s never too early.
- Never stop moving forward. “The timeline will not change,” says Zeller. She and Stein come to the conference calls prepared to make decisions.
- Be clear about expectations. “We have gotten better about communicating project milestones,” says Stein.
- Communicate early and often with higher-ups. Keep the process moving by taking questions or concerns to people with more decision-making power.