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Epic Outcomes

From a Great Idea to a Useful Tool, Sooner

Users request and IT responds, employing Epic tools and agile processes

The team at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center uses an agile process for decision support implementation that lets them respond to the organization’s evolving needs promptly. For example, when the hospital faced a shortage of Dilaudid, in just two days the team was able to create and implement a system warning for clinicians placing orders, which helped preserve the medication for patients who needed it most.

UTSW’s method focuses on the decision support tool’s intended user and the benefit for that user, collectively referred to as a “user story.” Each project is centered on one user story, which helps staff get to the heart of requests faster and guides decisions about which Epic tools suit a given need. This agile process for collecting requests, designing interventions, and measuring success helped the team complete 75% more projects in 2017 than they did before implementing the method in 2013 and ensures that crucial tools are in clinicians’ hands as quickly as possible.

In a more complex project, the UTSW team tackled improvements to venous thromboembolism care with a redesign for VTE decision support that included 19 new tools.

“It took us initially six weeks and we were able to have something ready to go to production,” says Angela Carrington, RN, BBA. “And for us, that would previously have been a six month project.”

Epic community members can view UTSW’s presentation, listen to the audio, and read more about their program.