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A conversation with an EHR Director about
EPIC Go Live with RAIN Resources
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November 11, 2014

Thomas Kirst, System Director-EHR at HealthEast Care System, manages the overall Epic implementation of the four hospitals and thirteen clinics, from budgeting and planning through the “big bang” go-live. Before joining HealthEast Care System, Tom was a Project Manager at Epic, Verona, WI, for twelve years.  

Q:  What is it that you have found most helpful about RAIN Resources?
A: RAIN was the right fit for us. They had people at the elbow that not only know the software, but know what a user runs into on day one. There are workflows and nuances in the system that you learn in training, but really don’t start using until the patient is in front of you. The RAIN team’s intuitive sense of how the software can fit into your workflow is huge. That’s where having the RAIN Resource folks was key to our success.  

Q: What value did RAIN Resources bring to HealthEast?
A: As you can imagine, there are 1001, but I’ll point out a few.

They provided a dedicated point person. We weren't tossed from one person to the next, having to call X person on Monday and Y person on Tuesday. We had a consistent resource all the way through who really got to know us.  

In addition to their focused attention, they really became a part of our team. They helped us manage the project - not sure if that's a part of the statement of work, but that's what it turned out to be. It’s as if their approach was ‘How do we help keep you, the customer, on track?’And I think that's a real value add. We know our business, but sometimes we just needed the extra nudge. Sometimes it was as simple as a guiding but cautious email saying, ‘Okay, we were looking for these numbers on Friday, and it's now Monday.’ With balancing so many priorities, it was sometimes the nudge we needed to make sure that we were meeting the deadlines and not having to scramble at the last second,

RAIN was genuinely concerned about the quality of the outcome, as opposed to ‘filling a quota.’ I think that’s huge. And I got that sense all the way throughout, from planning through go-live.  

Q: What is most different about RAIN?
A: They actually bring in users who use Epic every day in the care of their patients. So they not only understand Epic, they understand medicine, and they understand the practical use of the software, because they are users themselves. That’s another factor – they are here because they want to help their peers avoid some of the challenges they experienced with their first introduction to EPIC. And they have a lot of ownership and satisfaction in that.

Q. Have you worked with other types of planning, training, and go-live consultants?
A: I have. And I wish I could say that they all held themselves to the same standards as RAIN. But I know that from practical experience, sometimes you get what you pay for. What we got from RAIN was skilled peer professionals, specifically selected for HealthEast, to make sure that our users were comfortable with the software AND the workflow.

Q: What do you think your users would say about their Go Live experience with RAIN?
A: I can easily narrow it down to three categories. First, knowledgeable – you would expect that from any consultant, but that isn’t always true. It’s their understanding and communication of not just where and how to click, but why you're clicking – that’s crucial. And secondly, they’re very personable. It’s just easier to learn from people that you enjoy. And lastly, it’s the confidence building they create because they have been through a go-live and mastered Epic in their own environments.

Q: And lastly, why would you recommend that someone utilize RAIN resources?
A: Consistency. You talk to anybody that has used their staff, and there isn’t even one negative comment.  My sense is just that you know what you're getting. People want to be there. They rearrange their lives and schedules, and you know they want to do a great job at it. They take a great deal of pride in that.

Q: Tom how would you summarize your experience with RAIN Resources?
A: For my colleagues in the industry, I would summarize it by saying it's a no brainer. It’s no   

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