As the minutes ticked down to 4 a.m. on Feb. 1 at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, the Baptist OneCare (BOC) team, along with operational leadership and other team members, waited with excitement for the official Epic “go live.” Then came the surprise: The system went live early at 3:57 a.m. in Jackson, Attala, Leake and Yazoo.
“We were standing in front of the big clock watching for 4 a.m., when we heard that we actually went live three minutes early,” laughs Brandi Ware, MBA, BSN, RN-BC, PMP, who served as clinical operations readiness lead (inpatient) for the Epic implementation. “But it was the collaboration between teams that helped us to be ready,” she added.
That collaboration began in late 2016 and involved people across multiple groups in Memphis, Jackson, Attala, Leake, and Yazoo. The integration covered four hospitals and 31 clinics.
Team members in four command centers—BOC, Operations, Non-BOC Applications and Clinics—met and took calls throughout the day to monitor the system and operations at all affected facilities. Staff manned the command centers 24/7 for a full week after launch.
As go-live stretched into the day, high-quality patient care remained the top priority for all team members. “Our leaders emphasized that patients would remain at the center of what we did, and any computer issues could be solved,” Brandi explained.
According to Brandi, the early excitement and energy continued without warning throughout the day, even past the 7 p.m. shift change for super users who had come to support the transition.
More Than Conquerors
Possibly it was the spiritual support and encouragement from Pastoral Care leading up to go-live that paved the way for the exceptional cooperation that characterized the day. “People came together like I’ve never seen before,” Brandi said. “It didn’t matter where people worked, everyone helped however and wherever they could. There was an amazing unity.”
Mississippi Baptist Medical Center Pastoral Care Director Heath Ferguson opened all three of the final go-live readiness meetings. Heath used scripture like Romans 8:37 to encourage team members. “He inspired confidence in us, and he also encouraged us to take care of ourselves so we could be a light for the people we lead,” Brandi added.
A Super Day
Throughout the implementation process, BOC super users who came from across the BMHCC system to support the effort more than lived up to the word “super.”
“They wanted to be here every day and they clearly wanted to help us,” Brandi emphasized. But the road ran both ways. Brandi added that some of the super users had such a great experience in Jackson they requested to stay an extra night.
The Road Ahead
Now a month after go-live, enthusiasm for the Epic system remains high. “The ready, easy access to patient information is amazing,” Brandi said. “We have a great system, and now we just have to continue the collaboration with BOC and other application teams in moving forward with steps that will help us get the most of the tool in our particular setting.”
Mississippi Baptist Medical Center’s Chief of Staff, Maria Rappai, MD, agrees. “We are so excited to have Epic as our new electronic health record platform,” she said. “Many thanks to the BOC team who made this possible. With Epic, possibilities are endless. The ability to review data and customize progress notes has been a welcome change. We look forward to further personalization to take it to the next level.”