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Dome - Thrive After Go-Live

Dome December 2014

Thrive After Go-Live

Date: December 5, 2014

Epic trainer Cheryl Godsey shows physician Sujay Pathak a shortcut in documenting patient encounters.
Epic trainer Cheryl Godsey shows physician Sujay Pathak a shortcut in documenting patient encounters.

Robert Kass, medical director for Johns Hopkins Community Physicians’ Westminster office, received training for Epic when it rolled out in 2013. But even though he and his colleagues were taught shortcuts to use the system’s various features, “if you don’t use them right away, you forget them,” he says 

Now, after a dedicated “Thrive After Go-Live” educational session that reviewed Epic features, Kass built in these adaptations to more easily enter referrals and lab and radiology orders.

“We all could benefit from improving our efficiency,” he says. “Even if you walk away with two to three time-savers, it’s going to make a difference.”

Kass is one of 51 Johns Hopkins Community Physicians (JHCP) participants since May who have taken the Thrive trainings, adapted by JHCP directly from Epic to increase efficiency. “What we discovered was that physicians had gaps in their understanding of the system,” says Tiffani Freeman, JHCP’s assistant director of operations training. Early Epic trainings highlighted specific features but didn’t necessarily explain how to fit them into daily work flow, she says. Some of the earliest Epic users missed out on training enhancements added later, and some providers wanted to achieve the comfort level they had with the prior EMR system, says Cheryl Godsey, JHCP’s senior instructional design and development specialist.

In a six-hour, small-group class at the Wyman Park office, trainers and physician leaders explain quick ways to navigate Epic, establish efficient work flow for documentation, order labs, use the patient portal MyChart and get the most from communication tools, such as Staff Messages and InBasket, which processes notes about items like prescription refill requests and lab results. The last two hours of class are allocated for hands-on time to customize Epic, create templates for letters or macros, and get one-on-one assistance.

Some sessions have been organized by specialty and include a JHCP physician leader expert in Epic functions. This way, pediatricians can learn to use features specific to their specialty from another pediatrician, or a gyn/ob from another gyn/ob. “We also invite everyone to share best practices, to create a growing body of knowledge,” says Maura McGuire, JHCP’s director of education and training. “Even our toughest customers come out saying, ‘I learned something.’”

It’s been so successful that Johns Hopkins Medicine leaders have adapted the trainings, too. Cystic Fibrosis Center Director Peter Mogayzel helped design a two-hour class for his department, held Oct. 30, that focused on documentation and InBasket management.

“People have gotten the hang of using Epic, but I don’t think they’ve maximized its potential,” Mogayzel says. As physicians become more familiar with the system, there are more features to tap into, he says.

Ongoing training is “part of the Epic blueprint,” says John Flynn, director of clinical practice improvement, but the question is timing. “You have to let people explore the system for a while and then learn to be more efficient.” Thrive trainings for the departments of Dermatology and Orthopaedic Surgery are scheduled before the end of the year.

—Karen Blum


To inquire about JHCP classes, contact