It’s crunch time. Every day counts. Can’t miss a deadline. All hands-on deck. Go-live readiness assessments (GLRA). If you work in health IT and have been through a major EHR implementation, you’ve heard all these phrases.
At the University of Vermont Health Network (UVMHN), the Epic Wave 1 go-live is less than 5 months away. The University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC) has been on Epic for inpatient and ambulatory core clinicals for years; wave 1 includes the full revenue cycle, lab and anatomic pathology, radiology, OR and anesthesia, cardiology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, behavioral health, rehab, wound care, infection control, and predictive analytics.
Wave 1 also includes the first Epic implementations at three Vermont and New York hospitals in the network, starting with ambulatory systems for billing and clinical functions. Waves 2 (2020) and 3 (2021) will be the full suite of inpatient systems at those same hospitals: Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Vermont; Porter Medical Center in Middlebury, Vermont; and Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, New York. Yet to be scheduled are Elizabethtown Community Hospital in Elizabethtown, New York; Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, New York; and Home Health and Hospice.
The core infrastructure is largely in place to support the November 1 go-live, though we have more to do at the device level. Over 10,000 users will be trained in a 6-week period. The first GLRA at 120 days pre go-live is coming up soon.
When I saw Epic on the agenda for the UVMC quarterly leadership meeting, I assumed it was a project status update. How wrong I was.
UVMC’s Chief Nursing Officer, Kate Fitzpatrick, spoke from the heart — she reminded everyone in the room about the “why.” She drew on the stories that were part of the Green Mountain Care Board Certificate of Need (CON) presentation when UVMHN first got the project approved.
Those stories were like those of every other healthcare system with a regional reach that cares for their patient population through integrated and coordinated services provided by an academic medical center and community hospitals. A common patient health record accessible by clinicians at all care locations:
- The pediatrician at a small community hospital who can get support from a physician at a level 3 NICU
- The specialists at a regional referral center available to community-based physicians all accessing a common EHR to review a patient’s medical history
- The subspecialist at the academic medical center able to advise and support a primary care physician at a community hospital
- Knowing that as a clinician you can work in one integrated system rather than toggle between disparate systems and possibly miss a critical piece of data
Yes, the Chief Nursing Officer spoke from the heart. She reminded all of us why we do what we do. When it’s crunch time, that’s what everyone involved and impacted by such a large-scale project needs to hear. We do it for our patients.
Over the next few months as interim CTO, I’ll be partnering with Dr. Adam Buckley, Network CIO; Dr. Doug Gentile, Network Chief Medical Information Officer; Lori Boisjoli, Network VP Application Portfolio, and everyone involved in this massive effort to ensure we stay on track for Wave 1.
After all, IT takes a village!