USF Health launches Epic electronic health records system

USF Health converted to Epic electronic health records (EHR) system at all its clinical sites Aug. 1, launching a new era of efficiency, improved patient care and safety, and a more cohesive system with Tampa General Hospital, its primary teaching hospital.

It may have set a record for one of the fastest transitions; typical changeovers take more than 18 months; USF Health did it in seven.

One week in since the Aug 1 Go-Live launch and many areas are already ramping up to refill schedules for patient appointments, which had been reduced to allow for fewer complications, said Patrick Gall, senior director of USF Health Applications and the technology lead for the USF Health Epic implementation project.

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The USF Health transitioned to the Epic electronic health records system in seven months; the typical changeover takes more than 18 months.

The Aug. 1 Go-Live launch was set purposefully on Saturday– when only a few clinical areas see a few patients – so the true test came Monday, Aug. 3, when all clinical areas began seeing patients. On Monday, Aug. 3, the day began with an initial hiccup related to access security, an anticipated problem with most Epic launches so USF Health Information Systems was prepared and quickly remedied the issue, Gall said. There were a few other issues across the day, but mostly clinics ran smoothly, Gall said. In all, the Command Center – a room filled with dozens of support staff specially trained for Epic – took 581 calls Monday and by Wednesday calls were down to 315.

The transition continues for another couple of weeks, Gall said, and by the end of August, the Go-Live portion of the project will be complete. By then, two and half years’ worth of clinical data will have been transferred into Epic.

Next steps, he said, include customizing the system to each departments’ needs (starting Sept. 1) and the implementation of ICD-10 (starting Oct. 1), the international medical coding system. In January, all USF Health clinical sites and departments will receive consultation on workflow optimization within Epic to be more efficient with inputting patient data.

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Some highlights of the USF Health Epic implementation and of the first week for Go-Live include:

* Executed in 7 months (average is 18 months)

* Rolled out electronic charge capture (a first for USF Health providers, who formerly used paper)

* Ensuring ICD-10 compliance

* Became the largest ever “practice connect” Epic deployment

* Trained more than 1,700 users in a 6-week timeframe

* Partnered with TGH’s Epic system while creating a support model where USF Health can support its own users

* Built ~160 Epic Departments (four times the amount TGH had in their Epic environments prior to USF Health)

* Deployed and tested over 1,100 end point computing devices before Go Live

* Manually migrated over 60,000 appointments in one weekend

* Ensured the EHR interfaces effectively with GE Billing and all ancillary systems (ASC, Radiology, etc.)

* Trained entire EHR support team on a new technology while building it

* Developed and deployed a super user program with over 100 super users and over 40 provider champions

* Migrated all patient data from the last 2.5 years into Epic and connected to TGH records

* Deployed Kaleidoscope-specific system for Ophthalmology within the same timeframe

Hundreds of people from various departments have been involved in the project including: USF Health Administration, USF Health Information Systems, Revenue Cycle, Clinical Operations, Patient Access, provider champions, TGH Administration, TGH analysts, Epic consultant analysts, consultant trainers, consultant support, USF System Information Technology and USF Health Communications.

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Photos by Sandra Roa, USF Health Communications and Marketing