Deploying a Community Connect Program is a hot topic within healthcare organizations using Epic today.
Health system leaders are curious about how other organizations kick started their programs… what was their pricing / contracting strategy, what were the lessons learned, what would they have done differently, what was the biggest hurdle…?
As I look back, the common theme or challenge is an organization’s ability to look at an Epic Community Connect Program as a strategic initiative that requires thoughtful collaboration with operational, clinical, financial and revenue cycle leaders. It is more than an IT project.
In my experience, health systems are challenged with devising a realistic, programmatic and strategic plan that clearly articulates and aligns to organizational goals, community’s needs, growth plans, financial viability (pricing, implementation & on-going maintenance) and additional management service offerings (i.e. revenue cycle).
Below are five key topics to consider and questions to answer BEFORE embarking on your Epic Community Connect Program.
- An organization should be thoughtful with governance given that an extension of Epic to their affiliates is a service (a vendor arrangement vs. a ‘big’-brother-is-watching-you arrangement) however there are a few rules of the road you’d want the affiliate partners to follow.
- How do you ensure the affiliate voice is considered with optimizations and changes?
- Does this get incorporated into the participation agreement? Will you have representation at regularly scheduled meetings which may focus on content, quality and cost perhaps?
- How much will it cost to subsidize after defining scope of offering?
- Do you plan to leverage per provider licensing model with Epic or extend the volume-based license and maintenance?
- Will your current 3rd party agreements extend to affiliates, or do they need to be re-negotiated?
- Do you have a system in place to manage the invoicing and collection of monthly fees?
- How will you manage providers incoming/ outgoing from existing groups?
- Specialties – Will you consider purchase/ installation of specialty modules? Will you extend new features to your employed groups first or retrofit to employed groups?
- Practice Management – Will you offer professional billing? If so, are you prepared to offer services as well?
- Referrals – Revamp the current referral orders especially if CC solution is to support an integrated delivery network.
- Integration – What degree of integration are you willing to support? New interfaces? Device integration?
- HIM / Data Conversion – Do you have a centralized or decentralized model? Scanning to document imaging solution, e.g. OnBase? This may add to cost model.
- Compliance – What processes will be implemented to monitor? What is the right balance of oversight for an affiliate group?
- Patient engagement – Do you have promotion of MyChart with affiliates? Will you allow them to independently brand MyChart? Will you have a requirement to add MyChart link to their websites?
- Don’t forget dashboards and quality metrics – Should targets be an expectation of the contract/ agreement? (especially if forming an ACO or clinically integrated network)
- Cost of connectivity, cache, citrix, MS licenses
- Database sizing may factor into cost model
- Will you extend email accounts? If you want to extend Epic Signal reports, you will need an account associated with hub institution.
- Put a process in place to ensure security standards are being met per ONC standard.
- Can your internal helpdesk absorb added volume?
- How can you disseminate information re: changes, upgrades, etc.? Suggest a field liaison that maintains relationship with the practice.
These five key topics and series of questions can make a difference in the successful implementation of your Epic Community Connect Program. For additional information or to learn more about our services and how we can help guide you in the direction of an effective program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to one of our Senior Epic & Strategy Consultants for the guest blog.