Final Preparations Underway for Epic Go-Live

EPIC training
UAMS Clinic Director Sheila Huskey high fives Alice Alexander, M.D., during EPIC training last week.

EPIC training UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., alongside Roxane Townsend, M.D., and G. Richard Smith, M.D., talk with physicians and staff during EPIC training. 


July 30, 2013 | As the countdown clocks at UAMS reach single digits in the number of days before more than 30 primary care and women’s health clinics launch new electronic health record software from Epic, dedicated employees are going above and beyond to ensure a smooth take off.
“We are looking forward to the integration that the Epic system will bring to UAMS,” said Dave Miller, chief information officer at UAMS. “The patient experience will be seamless, no matter where patients see a health care provider here.”

Information technology employees and software consultants are working quickly to prepare health care practitioners to begin using the system with patients on Aug. 1.

“We are conducting a full dress rehearsal with standardized patients in many of the clinics that will be going live on August 1,” Miller said. “Going through the entire process from a patient walking through the door to when they check out following their appointment has given us the opportunity to fix several small but very important issues.”

The dress rehearsal has already ensured a smoother transition on launch day.

“The most common issue we’ve found has been computers that aren’t mapped to a nearby printer,” Miller said. “That’s easily fixed at this point, but it would have been more significant and possibly caused delays for patients if we discovered it during go-live later this week.”

While some physicians in the clinics who will begin using Epic have been participating in the dress rehearsals, others have attended personalization labs that enable them to modify the software to their personal preferences. These two-hour sessions are in addition to the eight hours of online, classroom and Simulation Center training each UAMS employee using the new software has completed in the past six weeks.

“The conversion to Epic is like getting a new car,” Miller said. “The personalization labs are a small group session where you can adjust the seat, the mirrors, set up your radio pre-sets and all the other little things that make your driving experience more comfortable. By setting up the software to suit each individual physician’s personal preferences before they see actual patients, our physicians will be able to hit the ground running next Thursday.”

But even by taking these extra preparatory steps, minimal delays for patients are expected.

“Despite all our best efforts in training and preparations, patients will experience some delay in the registration and personal history portions of their visit because we will need to review and update all their personal data in the new system,” Miller said. “Once this data has been entered, it’s there forever. And, more importantly, it will be there at every clinic, hospital or emergency visit at UAMS going forward.”

In addition to the more than 30 clinics in the first wave of activations, the outpatient pharmacy is scheduled to begin using Epic software today, and professional billing is scheduled go live along with the clinics on Aug. 1. Scheduling functions for the outpatient clinics began using the new software on July 19.

Additional clinics and the UAMS Medical Center will begin using Epic software in 2014.

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