Talent Development Centre

Epic: The Best Way for IT Contractors to be Competitive in the Health Industry

Crystal Nicol By Crystal Nicol,
Delivery Manager, Eastern Canada at Eagle

Should you become Epic certified? Given the increased demand in Canada and limited number of Canadian IT contractors with the certification — absolutely!

We are seeing a growing number of Epic implementations pop-up across healthcare facilities and academic medical centers with an increased demand for Epic consultants, especially ones that are Epic certified. But what exactly is Epic and why has it quickly become one of the largest providers of health information technology?

Epic Systems has a reputation as a technological leader allowing hospitals and health systems to access, organize, store, and share electronic medical records. The support functions of Epic’s applications are related to patient care, including registration and scheduling, clinical systems for doctors, nurses, emergency personnel, and other care providers, systems for lab technologists, pharmacists, and radiologists, and billing systems for insurers.

TechTarget says Epic Systems’ products and services integrate across a variety of settings and functions. Here are some of the company’s prominent products and services:

  • EpicCare, the core EHR product, is tailored for physicians and organizations and focuses on clinical care, decision support and streamlined processes.
  • MyChartprovides patient engagement features, including family health information.
  • Healthy Planetuses data interoperability to boost population health management efforts.
  • Revenue cycle managementsoftware helps handle patient claims and billing.
  • Tapestryaddresses managed care activities.
  • Mobile interfaces – including Haiku for smartphones, Canto for tablets and Limerick for the Apple Watch – aid patient care via mobile devices.

Epic states that 190 million people across the world use its technology. Meanwhile, Forbes has estimated that at least 40% of the U.S. population has medical data stored on an Epic electronic health record (EHR), and Epic’s clients include some of the biggest names in healthcare.

KLAS Research concluded in 2017 that Epic had the largest EHR market share in acute care hospitals at 25.8%. Epic’s top competitor, Cerner Corp., took 24.6% of the market, revealing the close tug of war between the two companies for customers.

There has been a lot of interest lately in the IT consulting industry around becoming an Epic consultant. The demand for these consultants is at an all-time high and Epic Systems’ success has proven that the demand will only increase.

One thing that all Epic consultants should consider is becoming Epic certified.

Epic certifications are highly valued by many organizations and can be the key to a successful career in the healthcare IT field. Epic Certified consultants are currently in high demand.

It is very difficult to become Epic certified, but extremely valuable once you receive it. A certification is awarded when Epic Systems has deemed you proficient within a given module.  If you are not directly employed by Epic then you will need sponsorship from a hospital going through an Epic implementation. Epic does not allow individuals to apply for ad hoc certification. The only other method of receiving Epic certification is to be hired directly by Epic Systems.

There are numerous different modules in which one can become certified, such as:

  • ASAP – Emergency Room
  • Beacon – Medical Oncology
  • Cadence – Scheduling and Tracking Patient Appointments
  • EpicCare Ambulatory/Inpatient: Clinical Documentation, Order Entry, E-Prescribing
  • Kaleidoscope – Ophthalmology
  • Cupid – Cardiology
  • OpTime/Anesthesia – Scheduling and Documentation for Surgical Procedures
  • Stork – Obstetrics
  • Prelude/ADT – Patient Registration System
  • Radiant – Radiology
  • Willow (Inpatient and/or Outpatient) – Pharmacy

Epic requires those who are working on an implementation to be certified. If sponsorship through the system you currently work for is not an option, you can try to get hired by an outside health system to become Epic certified. After completion of the training and a hands on mock implementation process you must pass a proficiency test in order to receive the certification. Note that the only location in which one can receive Epic certification is at Epic Systems headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.

One thing to keep in mind when looking to get certified is that the process takes varying amounts of time, depending on which module you are receiving certification for. As a result, certification timelines can be somewhat unpredictable.

We are now seeing implementation in Canada and a strong demand for Epic consultants in Ontario. In July 2017, Epic rolled out its first end-to-end implementation in Canada at Mackenzie Health, an Ontario-based health care provider that serves over 500,000 patients. Other Canadian facilities use parts of Epic’s family of software. For example, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario uses Epic for its patient portal. However, Mackenzie represents the first time a Canadian health care provider has installed the full gamut of Epic tools, covering everything from lab work to cardiology to scheduling.

If you’ve been looking for the “next big thing” to learn in order to remain competitive, Epic is it. It may take some extra work, but it will lead you to be one of the first and few to earn this certification in Canada, immediately making you more marketable to recruiters nation-wide.

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