A Community Connect program is a strategic decision by a health system (Host) to extend its Epic electronic health record (EHR) software to community physicians and/or hospitals (Recipient). This “marriage” of organizations is intended to provide continuity of care for patients through shared services. Properly executed, a Community Connect program enables patients and providers to communicate, collaborate, and work toward overall better health and success outcomes.
Recipients surveyed by KLAS provided lower ratings on the quality of training and support offered by their Community Connect Host compared to ratings given by organizations that directly contract with Epic. Typically, the Host is a large healthcare system, while the Recipient is a smaller community practice, small bed hospital, or acute care facility. Workflows at the Host may not be suitable for the Recipient. Recipient users can review the workflows but may not understand how they work in the Epic application. Both parties can take steps to better understand the Host and Recipient environments and avoid surprises at go live.
1. Perform a gap analysis prior to training and go live.
Shadow each other’s workflows to learn what may and may not work for the Recipient. The Host may discover something new that enables them to enhance their own workflow.
2. Document processes and communicate.
Decide where workflow standard operating procedures will be located for easy access by both organizations. This helps with training and go live, as well as ongoing support for help desk ticket resolution.
3. Evaluate training modules and curriculum.
Recipients with fewer service offerings may not need to see the full-blown functionality available from the Host. Train on what is relevant to the Recipient, saving time and resources.
4. Incorporate workflow changes into classroom training.
Distributing workflow documents prior to go live helps end users understand what to expect. Have a Recipient leader attend training to address any questions regarding workflow.
5. Educate Recipient Super users and at the elbow support on workflow changes or enhancements.
Provide consistent training methods to communicate. Nothing is more frustrating to a provider or end user than multiple training methods during go live.
6. Have a mitigation plan for unplanned workflow changes.
Outline who can approve changes and have a communication method set up, so all trainers and end users are informed. Knee-jerk reactions without full evaluation typically create confusion and bad decisions.
Recipients have voiced concern that the Host leaves after go live and they never see them again. Recipients will continue to have questions, require workflow optimization and training. This is where the Epic Community Connect Account Manager can assist with meeting Service Level Agreements. Account Managers are an integral part of the team and success of the Community Connect program. Regular visits to the Recipient site to field questions, evaluate workflow issues, and provide minor training maintains a positive and effective relationship.
Proactively addressing potential issues by following the actions above will improve satisfaction with Epic Community Connect training and support.
Impact Advisors offers comprehensive Epic Community Connect services, including business and cost model planning, implementation and post go-live support, and “checkup” assessments of current programs.