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Clinical, administrative, billing systems set to take ‘Epic Leap’

Apr. 21, 2016, 10:12 AM

If there were a time for leaders to express enthusiasm and optimism about the project to replace, over the next 18 months, the greater part of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s clinical, administrative and billing software, that time was Monday morning at the project launch.

Kevin Johnson, M.D., M.S., talks about the Epic Leap project to install the Medical Center’s new clinical, administrative and billing software. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Onstage at Langford Auditorium before a crowd of approximately 1,000 staff and faculty, leaders expressed confidence in the information technology project’s prospective outcome, and extolled the significant benefits that the new software will provide for patients, care teams and other IT users at VUMC.

The speakers also stressed the complexity and colossal scale of the project, and cautioned that it will require the direct participation of thousands. If the switch poses some trepidation, particularly for busy clinical teams, that’s only to be expected, leaders took pains to acknowledge.

“We’re going to be really well prepared. And importantly, we’re going to look at how we can improve our processes of workflow as we install, so that everything is in sync,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

Balser outlined three required outcomes of the switch — improved satisfaction for care teams and patients, improved efficiency and improved continuity of care.

As examples of prospective benefits, Balser noted that: patients will no longer receive separate VUMC bills for hospital and professional services; they will be able to go online to schedule clinic visits and complete intake forms; clinical teams should find it easier to document care and keep in step with the many regulations and incentives that figure into their work; the switch will speed the availability of more comprehensive mobile technology for patients and teams; and it will also support a new ease of collaboration with referring physicians and hospital teams across the region.

Epic Systems Corp., based in Verona, Wisconsin, will provide the new software, VUMC leaders announced last December. As revealed at Monday’s launch, the project to install Epic software at VUMC will be called Epic Leap. The project also comes with a tagline — Making care seamless.

By November 2017, staff and faculty will switch to Epic software for medical record-keeping and clinic workflow, ordering of tests and treatments in hospitals and clinics, hospital scheduling and admissions, nursing documentation, medical management of perioperative patients, outpatient prescribing, medication administration, non-retail pharmacy management and hospital billing.

Patients eventually will also transition to Epic software, to continue engaging with their health care team and clinical information via the My Health at Vanderbilt patient web portal.

Other applications to be covered by the agreement are yet to be determined, with a detailed review of VUMC information technology set to conclude later this spring.

The project has drawn broad participation from VUMC’s leadership team. The project co-sponsors are Mitch Edgeworth, MBA, CEO of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital and Clinics; Kevin Johnson, M.D., MS, assistant vice chancellor for HealthIT and chair of Biomedical Informatics; and Cecelia Moore, MHA, CPA, associate vice chancellor for Finance. All three co-sponsors spoke at the launch.

Other leaders who spoke included Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N.; Neal Patel, M.D., MPH; C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D.; and Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D. Kara Adams, a member of the Family Advisory Council, also spoke.

For more information, visit the Epic Leap website (VUMC login required).

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