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How To Ensure Your Epic Implementation Doesn’t Turn Into An Epic Failure

One of the most complex decisions hospital executives need to make is selecting an electronic health records (EHR) system. Today, more than 250 health care organizations nationwide have chosen Epic as their preferred EHR system, and 45% of the US population have their medical records in an Epic system.

Once that decision is made, though, you’re not out of the woods quite yet. That’s because once you choose your EHR system, you’ll also need to decide on the best path for your organization--and your data--to get there. Choosing the right path can make all the difference in your Epic implementation being a huge success--or an Epic failure. No pressure, right? 

Fortunately, to give you peace of mind that your new EHR system will be a success, we’re outlining the two most common approaches to implementing Epic. 

The Phased Approach 

What is the Phased Approach?

This is the path favored by most larger organizations, who require a significant time commitment and additional resources to complete a successful implementation. The Phased Approach often encompasses more workflow conversions and customizations associated with the roll-out of Epic, its 21 major apps, and the multitude of systems behind it. 

phase approach epic

Why Choose the Phased Approach? 

For hospital systems that are made up of large-scale operations spanning dozens of departments serving thousands of patients, migrating one EHR system to another is a massive -- and potentially disruptive -- effort. To ensure business continuity and an unchanging quality of care, a Phased Approach allows the team to roll out changes incrementally, building on top of successes and carefully testing each customization with minimal interruption.

Benefits of Phased Approach: 
  • Time is defined but not compressed into a tight timeline. Instead, the implementation can occur on a rolling basis, making the process more digestible and less overwhelming. 
  • You’ll benefit from leveled out, incremental costs rather than a large sum upfront.
  • Migrating into the application over a time frame can minimize disruption and downtime to your organization. You’ll also be able to learn from what worked (and what didn’t work) during the previous phase, ensuring your next phase is even more successful. 
  • You can scale your resources, allowing your business to operate as usual without causing a debilitating resource burden.

The Big Bang Approach

What is the Big Bang Approach?

Midsize hospitals often favor the Big Bang Approach. That’s because they’re typically driven by a specific deadline, like an acquisition or a compliance issue that needs to be addressed quickly.

As the name suggests, the Big Bang Approach means you have to get the work moving quickly, and the implementation will happen all at once. As a result, you’ll likely need to hire consultants to define the scope of the plan and to support you and your IT team throughout the process. 

Functionality is typically the starting point in the Big Bang Approach, and anything executed during this time is based on implementing new features and functionality that speak directly to the needs of the hospital.

Why Choose the Big Bang Approach?

The Big Bang Approach will typically have less customization and means the ecosystem rolls out with native functionality. This means the processes will conform to Epic’s functionality, forcing some processes in the hospital system to change. 

The Big Bang approach is generally recommended for small-to-medium-sized organizations because they can absorb big changes faster. The resource constraints are still present in these organizations, but you could spend money on resources and training and then use the capital investment on infrastructure to also support the go-live support and training.

Benefits of Big Bang Approach: 

  • It helps you meet more rigorous security requirements that are inherent in the cloud.
  • It has a strict project timeline that is built to meet an organization’s tight deadline. 
  • The majority of the cost is upfront. After that, it levels out at a reduced cost once Epic is live.

Velocity Technology Solutions was one of the first five global vendors that can host Epic solutions in the cloud today. If you’re interested in using Epic as your Electronic Health Record System, but not sure how to execute your implementation, Velocity can help.

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