Columbia University Medical Center

When It’s Time to Change: Preparing for Epic Adoption, Adding Support

ColumbiaDoctors chief operating officer.

Roe Long, ColumbiaDoctors chief operating officer.

ColumbiaDoctors is recruiting a cadre of experienced professionals to aid departments’ change management efforts in the EpicTogether project, according to the faculty practice’s chief operating officer Roe Long. Both the Executive Committee and the board have approved resources dedicated to change management as part of the 2019 budget.

“Site visits to Mayo and Hopkins underscored the importance of allocating resources to change management,” Long said. “NYP engaged [consulting firm] DeLoitte to help them prepare for Direction Sessions with Epic, and they stressed this need as well. Finally, Epic itself has encouraged us to add change management resources.”

A position for senior director of change management-intentional redesign was posted in mid-June, and has yielded at least 30 applicants to date. This position will develop and lead the newly created Office of Intentional Redesign. “Once that individual is in place, we will begin to flesh out the change management team,” Long said.

The team’s role will be to collaborate with and support our clinical departments as they work toward deployment of Epic. The team will include individuals with experience in change management principles, as well as in clinical and business processes in the ambulatory setting. Part of their role will be working with departmental leadership to identify representatives to lead Epic-related changes within their department.

These team members will educate and coach departmental representatives, as well as the business unit, and provide strategies and tactics to adopt change, a toolkit to support execution, and support during implementation. After implementation, the team will evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and its adoption, and then move its focus to optimization.

Departmental representatives for change management will also be needed. Among their roles will be:

  • Assessing their department’s current state against the workflows agreed upon during Direction Setting and Adoption
  • Triaging Epic adoption
  • Identifying and engaging stakeholders
  • Understanding and communicating the impact of the project
  • Assessing the readiness for change at the front line level
  • Developing a mitigation plan for any related risks
  • Developing the plan and timeline for implementation and deliverables
  • Executing the plan

“Being intentional about redesign will form the critical foundation for the broad-based initiative necessary to transform the organization,” Long said.