6 Consultant Tips for a Successful Epic Assignment

Posted by Oxford Healthcare IT Consultant Guest Writer on Feb 15, 2015 7:56:00 AM


For consultants, the start of a new Epic project with a new client means another uphill climb on the learning curve. In the guest blog below, one Oxford Healthcare IT consultant shares six tried and true methods to ensure a successful Epic engagement.

As we all know each client’s Epic build can be quite different, and this can especially be true for the OpTime and Anesthesia areas.  With that being said, I have found some ideal areas of focus to quickly learn the structure of a client’s Epic OpTime and Anesthesia that may also be applied to all operational areas.

1.)    Facility structure.  Ask about the facility structure set up for your client.  This information is imperative, especially for troubleshooting end-user issues for a client that is live or will be going live soon.  How many hospitals are there and what is their abbreviation in Epic? Specific to OpTime/Anesthesia, how many surgical locations (EAF’s) are there?  What are the departments under each of these locations?  Finding the building blocks for your area, such as OpTime and Anesthesia, and understanding the setup helps to start troubleshooting issues. healthcare_IT-mobile

2.)    Device integration.  This is an area of high focus for the end user.  What areas have device integration within the surgical areas – Pre-Op/PACU/Anesthesia Intra-Op?  What devices does the client use?  Do they use a middleware or a direct interface?  How many device types (FDV) are used?  The answers to these questions can vary even within the same client if different hospitals use different devices, so it is important to get answers specific to location/department.  If the client uses different devices across locations/departments, you will also want to know if they share device variables (FDC).  If they share device variables, you don’t want to make any changes without thoroughly testing all devices that it is used by.

3.)    Supply interface and preference cards. This is one of the building blocks of OpTime, but differs greatly from client to client.  What supply/materials management system does the client use?  Is it a one-way interface into Epic or a two-way interface in and out of Epic?  Who builds/maintains the preference cards – build team or end user staff members?  Knowing how the supply interface works from the very start will save you valuable time.

4.)    OpTime system/location definitions and OpTime/Anesthesia profiles. Review and troubleshoot all go-to records.  Within these records you will find more information than I can mention, but big ticket items include OpTime/Anesthesia charging logic, associated departments and patient locations, some reporting settings, preference card settings, perioperative unit settings, and workflow engine rule settings.  You will also want to know if your client uses auto-transfer functionality within the perioperative departments, or from other departments in the hospital into a perioperative department.  All of this critical information is typically housed here.

5.)    Workflows. For a live or soon-going live client, end-user workflows are very important.  Scheduling, Periop, Out of OR, Anesthesia, GI, Surgical Orders Management, and Charging, just for starters.  I have found that end-users will feel more comfortable with you (the consultant) and the build team if they receive the same answers regarding workflow questions, regardless of who they ask.  I know this is often difficult because there are many different ways to do the same thing in Epic, which is why it is important to know the client’s workflow.

6.)    Area/Workflow owners. Learn what full-time team members are the subject area owners.  This will help you know who you can go to if you need additional information, as well as who you can go to for teaching opportunities in those areas.  As a consultant, regardless of the client, I know one of my job duties is always to teach the full-time staff – knowing who is responsible for certain areas makes that job easier.

These areas should be the start of your successful journey with your new client and project!

Did I miss any tried and true tips for a successful assignment? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!

Topics: Healthcare IT, Career Advice