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Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is Ballad Health changing our EHR system to Epic?

Having a common technology platform is one of Ballad Health’s key priorities for ensuring we continue to deliver quality patient care to our region. Now that the two health systems – Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System – have merged into one, using the same EHR across the enterprise is more conducive to patient safety and quality of care. Legacy Wellmont clinics and hospitals have been using Epic since 2014; now it’s time for legacy Mountain States facilities to make the transition toward a more streamlined health records process. This connectivity contributes to better patient safety, helps lower costs by reducing duplicate testing, and helps prevent adverse medication interactions from different prescribers.

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What do Ballad Health team members say about Epic?

Watch this video to see!

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Who will be affected by the Epic implementation?

Everyone who works for Ballad Health will be affected in some way. Team members who have been using Epic for a while will be asked to help support their colleagues in learning the new system; those new to Epic will be invited to training sessions and encouraged to log in to the Epic Playground to practice their skills. But Ballad Health team members, whether you work in EVS, patient scheduling, billing – most departments – will experience new workflows associated with the new system.

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How will Epic benefit our patients?

One of the most notable benefits for patients is having one continuous health record across our system so they don’t have to complete multiple health summaries. Another feature is access to the MyChart. In MyChart, patients can view test results, manage appointments, request prescription refills, message their providers, pay invoices, receive automated health reminders, and more.

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How will Epic benefit our providers and clinicians?

Providers and clinicians will have better access to information when treating patients. This access will help provide alerts when possible conflicts arise in patient treatment as they move through the system and also help with patient follow-up communication. With Epic, test results can be viewed as soon as they are available; providers can easily communicate directly with other providers using Epic about a patient; and orders can be placed remotely at any time.

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Which internal systems or applications will be replaced by Epic?

Epic will replace Allscripts and Soarian for managing patient care. Additionally, Epic has many features that could be superior to some of our existing applications in other parts of the organization. Our goal is to use systems that best support our operational needs, improve efficiency and help us manage costs. If you have an application you believe is in need of review, please notify the Epic team and we will work with you to compare it with the functionality we have in Epic.

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Why do we use names like ‘Cupid’ in Epic instead of standard names like ‘cardiology’?

Application names such as Cupid, Bones and Bugsy are part of the nomenclature of Epic. While Epic is a fully integrated system, it is made up of many specialized tools and modules for improving patient care, each with its own name. Cadence for scheduling, Beacon for oncology, and OpTime for surgery are some of the many modules in Epic. Since terms often differ within physician offices and hospitals, having a common naming convention makes it easier for caregivers to share and search for information while treating their patients. We have also produced an Epic glossary of terms, located on the Epic section of the Ballad Health intranet and www.bepictoday.org to help new users get familiar with the system.

Training sessions, events and support

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What training is recommended to use Epic, and how do I access it?

There are many learning plans depending on an individual’s specialty and needs. Epic training has three parts: e-Learning, classroom and personalization labs. Team members who require Epic training are assigned courses in HealthStream that are specific to their roles and responsibilities. Team members also receive invites to events or information sessions that support the overall training curriculum from bEpic@balladhealth.org or epictraining@balladhealth.org.

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When I can register for training for the June go-live?

Class registration is already underway in HealthStream for both online and classroom training. The training schedule is as follows:

Activity: June 2020 go-live
Class registration: January 6 – March 6
e-Learning completion: January 6 – before class
Classroom training: April 6 – May 19
Personalization lab: May 20 – 29
Go-live: June 1, 2020

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When can I register for training for the October go-live?

We are in the process of finalizing training schedules and logistics for online and classroom training. We will notify team members when training dates, times and locations are posted in HealthStream so you can discuss schedules and make plans with your team. Registration will begin in May for training events in August and September. The training schedule is as follows:
Activity: October 2020 go-live
Class registration: May 4 – July 10
e-Learning completion: May 4 – before class
Classroom training: August 10 – September 18
Personalization lab: September 21 – 29
Go-live: October 1, 2020

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Where are the training locations?

Training locations are listed below. Prior to training, all participants receive a logistics guide with maps and additional information about parking, badge access and mileage reimbursement.

Market Street Center (Watauga, Holston and Boone Rooms) 1106 W. Market Street Johnson City, TN
Gray Training Center (Classrooms A, B, C and D) 5112 Bobby Hicks Hwy Johnson City, TN
Indian Path Campus (CI-BLDG 2204 – Suite 213) 2204 Pavilion Drive Kingsport, TN
Indian Path Community Hospital (Second floor – Rooms A, B and C) 2205 Pavilion Drive Kingsport, TN
Abingdon Offsite (ABG-Campus Drive, Rooms A, B, C and D) 611 Campus Drive Abingdon, VA
Norton Education Center (Education Center Classroom) 351 Anderson Hollow Rd. Norton, VA
North Community Hospital Business Center (Computer Training Room) 1500 Park Ave. NW Norton, VA

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Is Epic training required?

Training is required to gain access to Epic and continued competence is necessary to provide inpatient care. Our trainers are all credentialed and have approved curriculum and courses to meet each user’s needs.

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How do I submit my reimbursement request for mileage after Epic training?

Team members should follow these steps for reimbursement:
• Mileage for Epic training should be submitted separately. To access the Mileage Reimbursement form, go to the Ballad Health intranet page. From the Departments dropdown menu, select Corporate Finance. Next, select Payroll from the navigation menu and click “Submit a mileage reimbursement form” to access the online form.
• Be sure to check the Epic Travel box on the form so the mileage will be expensed to department 40983 and not the team member’s home department.

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Will I be reimbursed for mileage if I travel to the training site from home?

Team members should adhere to the Ballad Health Travel and Business Expense Reimbursement Policy ADM-100-046-BH when traveling to training sites.


Example: The team member lives in Johnson City, but works in Kingsport.

If the team member uses the Gray training center, no mileage will be paid. However, if circumstances arise where the team member has to go to Norton for training, mileage would be reimbursed from their Kingsport “home work base” site.

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How do I clock in at the training location for the June go-live if I’m an hourly team member?

Hourly team members should follow the steps below for logging into training:
• Everyone attending training should have their team member badge as identification for admittance.
• At the time clock, tap the More button to display additional options, then choose Education.
• At the Enter Department prompt, enter 40983 and press the ENTER button.
• Swipe your badge.
• After training, punch out.

Norton team members
• At the time clock, tap the More button to display additional options, then choose Education.
• At the Enter Department prompt, enter 31983 and press the ENTER button.
• Swipe your badge.
• After training, punch out.

Transfers Mid-Shift
• If a team member transfers to Epic training/orientation mid-shift, it is not necessary to punch out of one department or activity and into another.
• Enter the IN punch and choose search from the dropdown box.
• Choose department 40983 and work rule Education for the transfer.

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How do I clock in at the training location for the October go-live if I’m an hourly team member?

Hourly team members should follow the steps below for logging into training.
• Everyone attending training should have their team member badge as identification for admittance.
• Team members’ managers will add their training schedule day into SmartSquare. SmartSquare is integrated with Kronos, so you will only need to clock in.

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What is Epic Playground, and how do I log in to it?

Epic Playground is an online training environment in which you can practice using Epic. Logins are available here for various specialties.

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Will training be offered to community physicians?

Any physician who is credentialed to perform services for patients receiving care at Ballad Health facilities will be required to attend training to gain access to Epic. Physicians who do not perform services within Ballad Health but need access to view patient information for continuity of care will need to request access to EpicCare Link by contacting the IT Help Desk at 423.431.6290. A training video is also provided on the EpicCare Link homepage.

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How will training work if social distancing guidelines are still in effect at the time of our scheduled classes?

We are taking several precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of our team members. These guidelines will be shared with trainers and posted at the training site for participants to follow.
• When team members arrive, they will participate in COVID-19 screenings before entering the classroom.
• Classrooms will be limited to approximately 10 participants for each session.
• Everyone, including the trainer, will maintain a three-foot distance from one other.
• Participants will have cleaners to sanitize their workstation surfaces, such as the keyboard, screen and mouse, before and after their training session. Wall sanitizers will be placed in classrooms to support good hygiene practices. Given the nationwide lack of inventory due to COVID-19, supplies will be based on availability at the time of training.

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What is a Super User?

A Super User is an end user with extensive knowledge of Epic. Because of their experience and knowledge of workflows, they will be supporting team members who are learning to use the system for the first time.

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What is a Workflow Walkthrough?

A Workflow Walkthrough is a demonstration of the various workflows in Epic. Team members get a good look at how caregivers can use a patient’s electronic chart to collect, retrieve and share information at different stages of treatment.

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What is Pilot Training?

In Pilot Training, courses are tested with a sample user group to gather feedback on content, delivery, learning activities, course materials and the overall training environment. Input from the session is then incorporated into curricula and adjustments are made as needed to ensure effective training.

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What is End User Acceptance Testing?

In End User Acceptance Testing, participating users run through scripts based on clinical scenarios to ensure Epic workflows meet their needs. They also give feedback on design, build, configuration and other areas for improvement.

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How can I stay informed about what is happening with Epic before, and after, the go-lives?

Read the Epic newsletter, ‘Next chapter,’ which comes out on the second Tuesday of each month in Ballad Health News. You can also visit our website, www.bepictoday.org, to find updated information.

PTO blackout dates

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What are the PTO blackout dates?

PTO blackout dates are as follows:
• If you work in ambulatory facilities going live with Epic – No PTO will be approved for June 1-19, 2020.
• If you work in acute care/inpatient departments going live with Epic, or already live with Epic – No PTO will be approved for October 1-23, 2020.
• Corporate team members will be required to observe at least one of these blackout periods.
• Team members in several other departments will need to be available during both go-lives.
• The extension of PTO usage through December 2020 will apply to all team members.

Epic go-live

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When can I expect Epic to be implemented?

Epic will be implemented across our entire system this year. The go-live date for ambulatory sites is June 1 and the date for acute care sites is October 1.

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When will the sleep lab go live?

The sleep lab will go live October 1.

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Is there a possibility our go-live dates will change because of COVID-19?

At this time, we are continuing to move forward with our existing go-live dates of June 1 for clinics and October 1 for hospitals. We remain committed to the care and safety of our team members and patients and will continue assessing the evolution of COVID-19 and its impact on our team and operations. If, at any point, we need to adjust our schedules and plans, we will notify you.

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Will our current computer systems and hardware support Epic?

Yes; we have made several investments in technology, such as our Windows 10 rollout and hardware upgrades, to support our readiness for Epic go-lives. We will also have several phases of testing in place to ensure our systems support the functionality we need in Epic before we go live.

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How do we measure our readiness before we go live?

We have several readiness events to ensure we’re reaching key milestones in the planning and implementation process. These include Go Live Readiness Assessments (GLRAs), which are checkpoints at 120, 90, 60, 30 and 15 days prior to go-live. Additionally, we have appointed leaders who share operational risks and mitigation plans and lead activities to ensure user adoption and readiness when the system goes live.

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What happens to Allscripts and Soarian during Epic go-live dates?

We have a team in place already working on cutover logistics for transitioning from Allscripts and Soarian to Epic. After midnight on go-live dates, team members will follow downtime procedures for a few hours to ensure information carries over to Epic. You will receive more information about these procedures closer to our go-live dates. After the transition to Epic, these sites will no longer be used for patient scheduling and treatment.

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How will the Epic go-live dates impact Epic systems already live within our health system?

Systems for sites that are already using Epic will remain operational during the June 1 and October 1 go-live dates and transition.

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What happens if there are issues during go-live?

We have put several safeguards in place to mitigate the risk of issues. Before we go live, we will test our workflows and processes, as well as technical operations, including devices such as workstations, printers and scanners. Moreover, throughout all phases of planning, we have carefully considered input from experts regarding best practices for developing our timeline, schedule, and go-live practices. We will also have a command center in place to provide team members with support as needed.

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When we go live, how will we manage patients partway through their treatment, such as cancer patients? Do all their appointments and treatments automatically carry over to Epic?

Appointments will be entered into Epic to mirror what is currently done in Allscripts/Varian/Mosaiq. This will be a manual process. For active treatment/cancer patients, a group of clinicians will be responsible for cutting over all existing treatment patients to ensure Epic has the correct cycle, day, dosing, etc. A similar process was completed when the two Kingsport-based cancer centers merged and began using Epic.

Epic information and contacts

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Where do I direct questions about Epic?

If you have a question about Epic, please email it to bEpic@balladhealth.org. Your question will be directed to the appropriate person for follow-up. If your question is related directly to training, please email epictraining@balladhealth.org.

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I want to learn more about Epic. What resources are available to me outside of training?

The Epic section of the SharePoint site provides many great resources. To access the site, go to the Ballad Health intranet and select Epic from the navigation menu at the top of the page. Be sure to read the monthly Epic newsletter, ‘Next chapter,’ delivered on the second Tuesday of each month through Ballad Health News. You can also find important information and an archive of the Epic newsletters on our new site, www.bepictoday.org. The newsletter is also supported by regular updates in Know, Share, Do and Ballad Health News.

Epic offers the UserWeb, a site limited to its customers. This resource site, maintained independently by Epic Systems Corporation, includes slides and audio from its UGM and XGM events, support forums, training resources, videos and more to help team members learn the Epic EHR system. While we encourage you to use this site, please keep in mind our rollout will be customized for Ballad Health. You can sign up for an account here using your Ballad Health email address.

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