It’s a common problem — when you take two groups of people who are brilliant in their respective fields and ask them to work together, it isn’t always easy to get them to speak the same language. As a result, it’s historically been a challenge for physicians to work with developers to make needed changes to electronic health record systems.
That’s a big part of why Epic instituted its Physician Builders program. This certification program offers providers a chance for advanced training, laying out the configuration of the Epic system and methodologies for instituting change. In recent years, MTS has looked to graduates of this program – both from Mercy as well as from our commercial clients – to help spearhead some of our biggest initiatives.
“Epic’s goal in instituting the physician builder program is to make use of providers' experience working with the EHR to help improve the system,” said Dr. Jason Gutting, a member of Mercy Technology Services’ clinical informatics team and a certified physician builder. “Epic teaches providers how to work in Epic environments the way developers do. It helps them understand Epic’s capabilities, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of different kinds of changes.”
“Traditionally, interactions between developers and providers have involved a lot of back and forth,” said Dr. Todd Craig, another physician builder, as well as Mercy's vice president of clinical informatics. “By helping doctors to understand the system better, we can cover a lot more ground a lot more smoothly.”
Plus, given their unique perspective on the Epic system, physician builders can serve as consultants to physician groups within their organizations, helping them understand the possibilities of working within the EHR.
Today, nearly 20 Mercy physicians have completed their certification as part of the physician builders program. Those 20 doctors, along with physician builders from Mercy’s client organizations, are helping MTS developers to lead important Epic optimization projects, including the implementation of new Epic modules, customized data views, new dashboards and more.
According to the KLAS institute, studies show that participation in the physician builders program leads to higher provider satisfaction related to use of Epic, as doctors begin to see changes in the system which they’ve helped institute. “Mercy is always working to be more provider-centric,” said Dr. Gutting. “If we can make changes that help providers become more efficient in Epic, that means they have more time to spend with their patient. That means happier providers and, most importantly, better patient outcomes.”