The HCI Group Consultant Corner
Evan Bernstein is a Director of Epic Services for the HCI Group. He brings a rich diversity of experience to our company, having worked previously at Epic as well as at multiple hospitals. His many years of industry experience include serving as a design engineer and as a project manager for Epic. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Evan enjoys working closely with healthcare professionals and bridging the gap between business processes and development needs.
Q. Describe a notable challenge that you have faced during a recent install or other project.
A. During a major Epic installation recently, our client had about ninety different specialties in 500 locations. Because their physicians were specialists, each had different needs, they each wanted something unique. We got many requests to make modifications to different tools. Cardiology wanted something different from radiology, which wanted something different from neurology, which wanted something different from psychology, and so forth. Our task was to standardize the hospital across those ninety different specialties. It was also interesting to speak and work with physicians on a regular basis and to show them how to utilize the same tools in different ways to meet their needs. By the time we finished, we were able to meet the unique needs of these physicians by taking advantage of the tools that are part of the Epic application. I believe that what sets HCI apart is having the talent to make those tools work better for the physicians. About 500 clinics went live with their workflows, and we’re very proud of the results.
Q. Since you had so many requests for all the different variations, how did the HCI Group team approach that?
A. We met individually with physician champions in every single specialty to explain the tools and the workflows and to answer any of their questions or concerns. The goal was to create realistic expectations at the outset. I told them this install would be a work in progress and that they would see some things here and there that weren’t perfect. But I assured them that we would make the proper adjustments and asked them to have some patience with us. I think setting their expectations up front was a huge benefit. We also made sure that the tools were generalized in many ways. So we put a general format into every single smart text. And then inside the smart text, we gave them the ability to customize a lot more, so they could just bypass all the things that were not pertinent to them. It’s a solution that we gave them for free.
Q. Did this approach help with clinical adoption?
A. Absolutely. By meeting with every single physician champion there, we were not only able to allay their fears, but we were also able to convince them to pass along to their colleagues about how beneficial this software was going to be. We were able to create excited about the software by showing them that the tools can meet their individual needs. So instead of raising concerns to the CFO or CEO about how this software is never going to work, they ended up using the software hands-on. And that way they were excited about how it could actually work for them.
Q. Did any unforeseen challenges arise during the project?
A. There are always unforeseen challenges. One recent one I came across was for billing. Our implementation goal is to streamlined workflow in which all procedures were billed the same way. What we found instead was the billing workflows for this particular Healthcare system were highly complex. Their structure preferred to bill differently for different procedures. It took a lot of meetings with the billing departments to demonstrate the importance of a totally different structure and we were challenged to think critically to overcome this obstacle.
Q. Did having 500 locations present any special challenges?
A. It was more difficult to meet with individuals, to coordinate schedules and to support the go-live because all our people have to work out of a centralized location. So as a support system, we weren’t going to be there with the physicians but rather had to count on our super users. From a planning standpoint, it just meant we had to be very, very adaptive.
Q. What are the major things you did to help assure the success of this project?
A. This particular HCI client has some of the most prestigious physicians in the entire world, and they are looking for the exact tools that will help them. So we had people who raised red flags on a regular basis. In the end, we were able to get nearly complete buy-in from all the physicians we worked with. I count that as a huge success. If they’re happy, that means we did things right.
Q. And did the go-live proceed smoothly?
A. They not only had a successful go-live, but printing and security problems were not even among the top five issues. They are normally the top two! This was a major result of the iterative testing we did in those two areas specifically to prevent issues.
Q. What do you think are some of the most important skill sets for someone in your position?
A. It’s important to have the ability to think outside the box, to understand what the software can do rather than just relying on what you yourself have done in the past. Some analysts just try to replicate what they’ve done before. What I do well is to understand the software and the clinical world so well that I can get creative with customer needs.
Q. What do you like about being a consultant for the HCI Group?
A. I love the size of HCI. I never want to be part of a company that’s so big that I can’t have an impact on it or so small that we can’t make an impact on the industry. HCI has the right number of people so that we’re able to offer a wealth of consultants without over-stretching ourselves. We’ve got people who have great knowledge of the industry who can not only talk the talk but walk the walk. We also have a vision to always be changing and adapting to the market, and our management is very open to making the changes needed. Also, I want to help direct the company toward success, and I feel that at HCI I can do that.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. I’m in San Francisco right now with a new client. I’m the project manager and team lead for the entire Epic Radiant install. Our teams are in training, and it’s a great new challenge, so I’m very excited about it!