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Managed Care Partners - Countdown to an Epic Launch

Managed Care Partners Winter 2013

Countdown to an Epic Launch

Date: February 25, 2013

Epi guy

Thousands of employees across Johns Hopkins Medicine will soon begin a journey to a new electronic medical record system. Throughout the enterprise, clinicians and support staff accustomed to documenting patient care on paper or in a hodgepodge of databases will learn to use Epic, the software system that will integrate Johns Hopkins medical records into a central digital warehouse.

As a physician champion for Epic, Matthew Kashima is one of more than 75 providers throughout the health system seeking feedback on the new software system from clinical specialists. Kashima, medical director for ambulatory services for Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, has trained to become a “super-user” ready to lend support to peers.

To ensure a smooth transition, instructional designer Tom Piccin and co-workers spent nearly a year creating a training program that takes into consideration the expertise, time constraints and problem-solving skills of Hopkins personnel. “We’re acutely aware of how valuable time is for physicians, nurses and everybody else,” Piccin says. “We want to involve learners in hands-on ways and use patient scenarios that are relevant to their work.”

In an Epic class for nurses, for example, the trainer, using a large projection screen, will demonstrate how to document a patient’s vital statistics and then have class members repeat the process independently or with a partner. “It’s about communicating the core meaning of a lesson and then allowing participants the opportunity to apply that in a realistic setting,” Piccin says. 

The first group to get introductory e-learning courses, mandatory for attending classroom training, are those in ambulatory medicine at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians (JHCP) sites along with affiliated faculty practices, Johns Hopkins at Odenton, the Wilmer Eye Institute’s Frederick office and all scheduling and registration staff. Others will start later.

The e-learning modules are based on Epic’s standard content; users will receive more Hopkins-specific information in the classroom. “The intent,” says senior training manager Jeff Ostrow, “is for users to gain a general understanding of how Epic works and familiarize themselves with the screen layout and navigation prior to attending classroom training, where they will learn to use Epic with Johns Hopkins workflows.”

Classroom training for the first group began in February 2013. Howard County General Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital start training in April. These organizations will “go live” in waves from April through August 2013. Other groups’ go-live dates will occur over the next two years.

A core group of trainers will remain at Hopkins for ongoing staff instruction and assistance. Before Epic launches, trainees will have the opportunity to practice as much as possible in the software system’s simulated workplace environment known as the “playground.”

Kashima stresses to providers the rewards of learning how to make the most of the software system’s versatility. In addition to having a safer, more cohesive health care delivery model for all Johns Hopkins Medicine patients, he says, physicians will be able to look at combined data from various patient populations to evaluate their own clinical performance and improve quality of care.