Epic Workflow Development in Three Simple Steps

A key part of any Epic project is developing specifications for what actually needs to get implemented. Your client's operational leadership should have a good idea of what workflows and processes need to be accounted for, but they don't generally know how to translate their needs into functional Epic design. Conversely, as a consultant, you come in knowing the Epic tools that are available, but you also face a learning curve regarding the client’s business requirements.
This post offers a three-step guide to navigating these knowledge gaps and eventually arriving at the best possible solution for the client with a minimum of re-work and decision swirl. With your training and knowledge—and an assist from easy-to-use diagramming tools like Microsoft Visio —the steps below should help you bring order and focus to an often chaotic, open-ended process.
Step 1: Define the Business Need
When presented with a request to accommodate a particular workflow or business need, resist the urge to immediately propose an Epic solution. Even if your first instinct for how to handle something in Epic is right, it’s easier to manage expectations with stakeholders if you don’t commit to certain functionality until you have fully assessed all the wrinkles of a workflow.
If you get ahead of yourself, you run the risk of creating opportunities for decision swirl. Operational leaders with limited knowledge of Epic may start second-guessing every decision—as well as each other—leading to long meetings where much is discussed but little is accomplished. This problem is particularly acute with remote meetings, which is why if you are limited to remote meetings it is especially helpful to have a focused review process and not an open-ended discussion.
Instead, in your initial requirements gathering, think like a journalist trying to get the “story” behind how a certain business need is addressed. For example, suppose your client wants to create a new denials management team for Hospital Billing, with process tracking in Epic. How would you write that story? Focus on getting the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of a workflow.

Who : Which teams or groups of users are involved in the workflow? Who is responsible for decision making?

In our denials management example, the 'Who' would be the billing office managers over the insurance follow up team.

What : What is the end result of the workflow? A report? A regulatory filing? Payment? Are there multiple endpoints?

In our example, the 'What' would be a reportable denials management workflow in Epic with dedicated users and workqueues.

When : What is the turnaround time for this workflow? Is this something people or the system needs to do daily, weekly, or monthly?

In our example, the 'When' is an ongoing process that is supposed to help reduce AR days.

Where : Where are the decision points within a workflow?...