Epic Beaker Lab Implementation is a Team Effort



The pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic are shining a light on the central importance of the lab to the clinical goals of a hospital or health system.
COVID-specific challenges for hospital lab professionals range from new billing and documentation requirements to the setup and configuration of drive-through test facilities.
These challenges are also highlighting the value of an integrated lab solution like Epic Beaker and the importance of properly planning and scoping the implementation of such a system.  As a long-time Beaker implementation consultant with multiple completed projects under my belt, I view the resource plan for a Beaker project as a critical success factor.
Specifically, planners need to ensure that all of the stakeholders directly or indirectly affected by the lab system understand the changes required to implement a more robust, integrated solution. Identifying these stakeholders and getting their input into the project, as needed, will ensure better outcomes and greater buy-in.
Who are the Lab Stakeholders?
Many Epic hospitals don't start with Beaker, but add it later to replace a legacy system. In these projects, there are teams that interact with the current-state lab system that will play an important role in the Beaker project. These include:

The Orders team that typically owns the lab build in Epic without Beaker.
The HIM team that ensures that patient records flow correctly between systems.
Security ensures appropriate role-specific system access.
The Patient Access team (Cadence/Grand Central/Prelude) handles registration and scheduling.
The infrastructure team handles devices and hardware.
The interface team to manage lab instruments and downstream systems
Regulatory operations to ensure compliance.
Lab operations – though frequently the time commitments for requirements-setting and validation are greatly underestimated.

Unfortunately, even if resource planning and allocation for the above-listed teams is perfect, a Beaker add-on may still struggle. There are three primary areas of focus that can get overlooked in planning.
Billing and Revenue Cycle. Not only should financial leaders be included in the governance structure of the project, but professional billing (PB) and hospital billing (HB) analysts and billing/coding experts will be needed for testing and validation.
Clinical Leadership. Building consensus and excitement around the change outside of the lab is crucial to the success of the implementation. Outside the lab, the group most impacted by a new lab system are the providers who collect specimens and see the results. These leaders – the CNO, CMO, CNIO, and CMIO – should all be involved in workflow scoping and testing. Set aside resources for end-user training as well.
Other Clinical Applications. If the implementation of Beaker is designed to get...

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