Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Going Live

During the many steps in the hiring process, my interviewers made it very clear that working at Epic involves travel. Depending on the position, you'll be required to travel quite a bit. But most positions allow you to travel as much or as little as you want.

If you're an implementer (listed as Project Manager/Implementation Consultant on Epic's website), you'll travel a lot. At least 50% of the time. I share my office with an implementor, and I rarely see him. If you're employed in any of the other positions, you get to pick when you travel, or at least I've been able to so far. When my main customer goes live, I'll be required to put a couple of weeks in at their site, but the HR people who hired me gave me plenty of forewarning.

I've seen a lot of rants, angry blog posts, and general grumpiness from disgruntled Ex-Epic employees, and people who didn't make the numerous cuts required by the hiring process. Most of them involve the lack of warning about travel, expected hours in a work-week, and general stuff like that. I can only speak for myself, but Epic was very up front about all that. They didn't sugar-coat anything.

Anyway, I had my first opportunity to travel at Epic's expense over the weekend. It was within driving range, so I got to get in my car and explore Greater Wisconsin. I drove past the Ho-Chunk Casino, saw some spectacular-looking waterslides in the Dells, saw gas prices steadily decline the farther I got from Verona.

Having had no clinical background besides what my RN mom brought home with her from her home health supervisor job, working in an ED was interesting. It was as much a steep learning curve for me learning the ED as it was for the nurses, doctors, social workers, EMTs, paramedics, etc learning Epic. There was a lot of frustration on the first day. By the second day, things were running a lot smoother. Most of the people working in the ED looked like they wanted to walk across the parking lot and admit themselves to the psych ward after work on the first day. A couple of hours into the second day, though, they were using Epic like old pros.

I learned a lot on the trip. Mostly, no amount of training in the classroom can prepare users for after Go-Live. Users have to learn new workflows, and if one link in the chain messes up, it screws everybody. Also, Epic staff need to spend more time in the clinics, the EDs, on the hospital floors. We, as a whole, don't know enough about the inner workings of a hospital to be the best use we can be. However, that could just be me.

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