Similar to the dance floor, it takes two to tango for a successful Epic Community Connect Program (CC). The tango is a dance which requires both partners move in relation to each other. Both the extending health system and the receiving hospital/practice must have skin in the game and work together to make the dance a successful one. Strong Community Connect partnerships ensure long term success.
Community Connect Partnerships: Vendors
If you are extending your Epic Electronic Health Record (EHR) to another health system, it will require creating a team that is dedicated to the Epic Community Connect program. When you decide to make this move, you are now a vendor and that presents great responsibility. Your ‘clients’ will expect service level agreements (SLAs) that compete with other EHR vendors. Other vendors will offer dedicated support and customization. This all comes at a cost. What are you doing to differentiate yourself? What do you include in your price model? Items such as customer service and pre-loaded data will differentiate you from them.
- Think about having a physician on your team. He/She will be able to speak with your clients and help with making decisions when requests come from community providers/hospitals.
- Focus on training-training-training. Statistics show that the more training up front, the more likely providers will use the system meaningfully and actually like it.
- Having a client liaison that can not only check in on the CC partner but can also help with post go-live training and tips/trick will facilitate happy partners.
- Don’t forget your partner when it comes to enhancements and upgrades. Communication is the key to building a solid collaboration with them. Treat your CC practices/hospitals as a partner. Too many times, once Epic is installed, the receiving entity feels like a step child. They chose you for a reason. Don’t install and forget about them. Keeping up with new technology is a challenge within your healthy system, but your partner wants and needs it as well. Keep them involved through committees and communication.
Community Connect Partnerships: Receivers
As a receiver of the Epic Community Connect Program, ask for what you want and need. You might not always get it because you are using the model system of the “mothership”, but ask. You add value since you may practice differently than the extending health system and provide a new vision that may not have been considered before. Smaller community practices/hospitals have distinct workflows and requirements. Customization may be necessary. Make sure you have representation be it through your liaison or participating advisory councils.
Community Connect partnerships are a long time marriage not a few months of dating. Understanding the expectations from both sides is necessary. Like any partnership, communication is the key.
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