Epic Upgrades are Epic Events

After surviving a go-live, an upgrade can’t be that bad, can it? It’s not like you have to undergo an entirely new implementation, right?

This paper discusses some of the key factors necessary for achieving a successful upgrade and shares some of the potential areas of risk to the project.

After years of research and planning, thousands of hours of work, several sleepless nights and a significant monetary investment, you successfully implemented the electronic health record that would forever improve your organization’s delivery and documentation of patient care and your clinicians’ workflows. You survived the rush of go-live and successfully navigated the barrage of stabilization and optimization tickets. Your end users have worked through their fear of change, fear of the unknown and uncertain futures, to become fully functional, happy users of an electronic health record. And just when you think it’s safe to take a breath, you’re faced with the sobering reality that it’s now time for an Epic Upgrade.


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Epic Upgrade

Five Phased Approach


Initial upgrade planning discussions should include the appropriate key decision makers from across the organization along with the upgrade project manager, the technical team lead, application leads and an Epic technical coordinator.


Second, only to the Master Project Plan, NOVA is the most important project management tool to be used for an Epic Upgrade. Nova is the primary source of information about application changes included in the new release.


It is a given that any change requires some level of testing to ensure that the functionality works as designed, the outcome produced meets expectations, and that the end users are not negatively impacted by the changes.


All changes related to an upgrade require some form of communication that informs end users about the change and how the change impacts their use of Epic. The form of communication is dependent on the complexity of the changes.

Go-Live Prep

It is inevitable that as the Go-Live date rapidly approaches, there will be unresolved reported issues to Epic for which Sherlock tickets have been opened. It is prudent to review the tickets and determine how critical they are.