After two and a half long years of hard work, the WashU Epic Dialysis Project is finally live! On August 1, 2023, our dialysis centers switched over to the Epic electronic medical records (EMR) system. The EPIC system replaces the clinical and billing systems Cyberren and Medical Manager, which had been in place for the past 20 years.
The Epic system incorporates clinical documentation from all areas of patient care into a single database. It allows patient information to be shared easily, quickly and safely among healthcare providers across BJC’s multiple hospitals and physician offices.
Chosen to manage the EMRs for all hospitals within BJC Healthcare and WashU School of Medicine in 2014, the Epic software rolled out in a scheduled series of “Go-live” events beginning in 2017. Barnes Jewish Hospital, Barnes Jewish-West County, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University Physicians went live in June 2018 with over 3,200 physician and 15,000 staff trained. In 2021, it was decided that it would be advantageous for our dialysis staff, providers and patients to be part of EPIC system.
A special acknowledgement goes out to the Epic build team, the WashU Clinical Action Team, WashU IT’s staff, and the physician billing services staff for their hard work getting everything ready for our dialysis centers’ rollout.
Nephrologist Charbel Khoury, MD, who, along with Tingting Li, MD, were the Epic Dialysis Project’s MD Champions, says, “We appreciate everyone’s help in helping us set up Epic with the goal to improve our patient care. Thanks to all the nurses and techs for embracing the change!”
Jodean Baldauf, Senior Director of Business Operations & Business Development, Nephrology, says, “Thank you everyone for your countless hours working on the Epic Dialysis Project. We appreciate the dedication that you have given to this project and working with the nephrology/dialysis team on making this happen.”
Our staff underwent thorough virtual training on the system and assisted in converting our existing clinical, billing and scheduling information into the Epic system. “So far, three days into the new system, the staff have exhibited great attitudes in learning the Epic system, asking great questions and providing feedback,” says Baldauf. “This is a big change for all of the staff, and we appreciate how well they are adjusting to this change.”
Several participants with the EPIC Team in our dialysis group participated in endless hours of meetings to design the features of the dialysis documentation and discuss workflows: Janessa Little-Cable, ASN, BSN, Nurse Administrator at Chromalloy Dialysis Center; Paula Schaefer, RN, Nurse Administrator at Forest Park Kidney Center; Patrice Finnie, RN, Nurse Manager at North County Dialysis Center; Thomas Gowen, RN, Nurse Manager of our Village Square Dialysis Center; Shawna McMichael, BSN, RN, Nurse Manager of our Home Modalities Program; April King, Manager of Financial Operations overseeing our dialysis centers; Liz Palmisano, IBC Asst III; and Kelly Stockhausen, Special Project Administrator.
(From left) Dialysis Staff Nurses Kim Pulliam and Datricia Drayton, and Dialysis Technician II Maurice Murray use the Epic system in their dialysis center.
RN Thomas Gowen says, “The Epic system will improve communications between our dialysis patients and their doctors and care teams.” The system has already been of service to patients since lab results have been available on Epic/MyChart for a few years now. “Our dialysis patients will often ask about the labs when they see how fast they can be reported.”
Read more about the Epic system here.