Epic Community Connect

Epic Community Connect

 

Training-Enhancing User Acceptance

We’re all aware of the Epic Community Connect program and the plethora of benefits it provides to both the host organization and the independent practices and community hospitals that are its focus. Depending on your organization’s decisions around subsidy levels in relation to Stark laws, a lot of directors and project managers are struggling to develop their approaches on how to best staff these projects, implementation timelines, customization and ongoing support. As community connect initiatives continue to evolve and mature most organizations have made the decision to use existing build and clinical content as the foundation for these new sites to reduce implementation time and costs. Depending on the organizations current staffing levels, billing solutions, and interfacing capabilities, some have opted to create/hire dedicated teams for the project running the spectrum to clinical analysts to Cadence, Prelude, and Resolute analysts all of which can bloat a budget and call into question, how much of a long term expense can they incur once the community connect project slows or ends. One often ignored facet to this equation is training. 

 Training 

A correlation between user acceptance and long-term support needs and inadequate training has been observed at organizations. What has been reported by clients and consultants is that training was one of the facets to be reduced as a result of cutting costs. Many times the host organization does not have the resources to staff their internal implementation, optimization, and new hire training along with a Community Connect initiative. The additional cost of expanding a training team through direct hire or staff augmentation is not as palatable and in many cases manifests as less classroom education for clinicians and staff. A trend of relying on e-learning has been observed and that in turn has been linked concretely to a lack of understanding of the Epic suite, unreasonable expectations, more elbow support post golive, and a need of heavy long-term support. While an added expense in the short-term, a dedicated or at least augmented internal training team capable of giving adequate hands-on classroom training will allow an organization to adhere to timelines and most importantly foster strong user acceptance that allows your new partnership to start off on the right footing and give the users a sense of dedication and support from the host.

 

How to Effectively Leverage IT to Drive Physician Alignment

A particular strength of Culbert is helping integrated delivery networks, hospitals and academic medical centers develop and execute programs for strengthening their relationship with the independent physician practices which service their communities.  Developing programs such as Epic’s Community Connect provides many opportunities to improve physician-hospital alignment, which also enables these independent practices to capitalize on the financial incentives provided by the HITECH Act.  

An effective program to extend EHR/PM applications to community physicians must include:  

  • Development of the application offering to be provided to affiliated practices,
  • Establishment of governance structure for supporting these practices from an application, operations and revenue cycle perspective,
  • MSO development and service offering,
  • Development of marketing plan and collateral,
  • Capital budgeting,
  • Review of legal, medical affairs and compliance implications, development of policies and procedures, and
  • Structure and requirements of the subsidization strategy,

A central concern to all of our clients has been to ensure that community physician programs do not dilute the services rendered to their employed physician base. As such, Culbert recommends building, implementing and supporting your community physician program utilizing a dedicated team as opposed to sharing implementation and support responsibilities across a single team.