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  • Writer's pictureHHS_MSA

Epic – let’s get real.

Epic is coming. Soon. Woot. Woot. Woot. 🎂 ✨🎉🌶 😊.

The excitement of learning something new

OK, we’re all excited… and, there may be a little trepidation. A sense of satisfaction with changing to Epic will only come when you are comfortable with the system. The more you play in the system before go-live, the more comfortable you will be with it on June 4th. This is a familiar lesson you know from using any new app on your phone, any new device in the OR, or any complicated new medication that you have started prescribing.

There is about a month left for you to learn as much as you can about Epic before go-live. Certainly, you will continue to learn after June 4th too. The “trick” is to try to ensure that you know how to use the system well enough to have the fewest problems when you start. To be sure, there will be a whole series of ways to get help when you need it, but let’s face it – the best way to look after your patients is to know how to use Epic the way you need to.

Anticipating and managing stress

Regardless of how well we try to prepare, though, some of us will run into challenges. The training you receive and at-the-elbow support at go-live should minimize this, but these issues, occurring in real time, can cause frustration and anxiety. Emotions can run high. We have seen this at other Epic implementations.

Let me bring up something that we are not hearing much about. When things get frustrating, it is easy for us to not behave at our best. We can be short with others, we can suddenly have some unreasonable expectations, or we can disengage. Keeping this in mind prior to go-live, though, is important.

If you find yourself not acting or feeling your best, what can you do?

First, take a second to realize that this is happening, and then take a break or seek some help. Solving the problem you are having should be possible with the 1000-strong at-the-elbow folks who will be prepared to swoop in and lend a hand. They will try to see the problem through to resolution. I can attest to this—I saw it firsthand at during SJHH’s Epic go-live.

Finally, as professionals, we don’t just manage our own professionalism, but help those around us who are having a tough time too. Whether it’s another doctor, or another hospital staff, we know that lending an ear, finding the positive side, or helping to solve the problem yourself if you can will go a long way to making someone else’s day much better.

You are a physician because you are good at helping people. Think about how you will help your colleague at Go-Live.

Good luck. See you in the Epic playground.

Deepak Dath, MD MEd FRCSC FACS

Professor of Surgery, McMaster University

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