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Epic Is Live Across UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

We are now live on Epic, a single electronic health record across UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. This is the culmination of a three-year effort and hundreds of thousands of hours of work by people across the entire organization. Destination: One is one of the largest projects ever undertaken in our organization and it is the first time we’ve aligned systems and workflows at this scale across our entire system. We are thrilled to have launched and excited for what this platform will allow us to do in the future.

It is exciting but challenging to make the transition to a single electronic health record. Our teams across all sites have been putting in long hours, especially during this go-live week. We want to express our thanks to everyone for being flexible and learning the functionality of this new system, all while continuing to provide excellent care to our patients.

Navigating a More Virtual Transition

Due to COVID-19 precautions, our Command Center has been primarily virtual. Coordination has been via Zoom and Microsoft Teams with our Super Users, Zone Leads, Readiness Coordinators and our vendor partners, Epic and CSI. The ease and speed of the virtual communication has set a new standard for project implementations at UW Medicine. As one physician commented, “Teams is a game changer — so impressed by the information sharing going on here and the searchability!”

These implementations are complex but the number of issues we’re experiencing is in line with an implementation of this size and complexity. We have 400+ Epic experts taking calls and working tickets. Our Epic hotline hold times have dramatically reduced and are now usually a minute or less. Most critical has been the support of our Super Users, the 2,500+ practitioners and staff who took on dozens of hours of extra training and preparation to provide at-the-elbow support to their colleagues. The long-term benefit of investing in additional training for our own personnel means that these Super Users will be able to continue helping their colleagues and assist us with us with optimizing our system for years to come.

Why Destination: One

Patients will now be able to see and access their patient record in one online portal: including their clinic visits, emergency room visits, inpatient stays, specialty care visits and more. They will now get a single billing statement for physician and hospital billing, and a single place to call for help with their bill.

Our practitioners and staff can see all the patient records for care provided after March 27 in a single system. A patient going from their primary care physician to the emergency room, to inpatient and back to their primary care will have all their records in one place. This is a major benefit to patient safety and our ability to function smoothly as an integrated system.

We want to extend special thanks to everyone that has worked on this project and had a part in achieving this important milestone for UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The past year was challenging with COVID-19, but we could not have achieved this without your support.

Thank you.

Lisa Brandenburg
President, UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics
University of Washington

Eric Neil
Chief Information Officer (interim)
Information Technology Services
UW Medicine

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