By now, you have probably heard that Epic’s new Storyboard is coming very quickly – whether you are ready or not. Starting with the November 2019 upgrade, Storyboard will always be on and previous workspace headers will no longer be available.

If you haven’t heard this, commence panicking now.

For those of you who aren’t sure what all the hubbub is about, Storyboard is Epic’s newest, wide-sweeping user experience improvement. It takes the information that is currently crammed into the header of the patient chart and moves it to a more user-friendly sidebar. It also creates unique views across many different areas of your organization. While that doesn’t sound like much, it is a huge improvement. Not only does it allow users to see key information more quickly and easily, it also gives them a ‘board’ with a ‘story’ of the patient. All jokes aside, Storyboard gives each role a unique view of the patient details that they care about without having to jump around from screen to screen, including: who they are, why they are here, recent events, information, and actions to take.

You might be thinking, ‘That doesn’t sound all that complicated’ or ‘We will just use Epic’s Foundation System content and do it as part of our November 2019 upgrade.’ Here’s why that thinking can lead you astray. First, the odds are that your organization has made multiple updates to the existing header, and that all of the information included in your headers now won’t be in the standard Epic-released Storyboards. Add on the fact that there can be a significant number of user types and variations across departments, and you have quite a project on your hands. That is also not even factoring in all of the related build that Epic suggests as part of this upgrade, including: cleaning-up and refining activity tabs, implementing patient photos, widescreen view and provider photos, and reviewing hardware.

Planning for Storyboard

You already have a team of talented people working on Epic at your organization, but they are busy. While they are definitely capable of learning this new build, validating it, building it, testing it, and rolling it out, do they have the bandwidth to do it right? 

In order to provide your staff with the tools and information needed for an optimal Storyboard, follow these steps. 

  1. Review when your organization is planning to upgrade to the November 2019 Epic release
    • This will give you an idea of how much time you have to implement Storyboard
  2. If possible, determine who originally validated the Epic header(s) in your organization
    • If it was an executive steering committee, it could be a challenge getting this onto a meeting agenda in the near future. If it was validated by department heads, you have fewer people to coordinate all at the same time, but more total people to work with for validation.
  3. Work with your Epic leadership team to get this on their calendar
    • Storyboard needs to be implemented alongside the November 2019 release, if not earlier, and there could already be competing priorities during that window with add-on applications and interfaces.
  4. Determine who will implement, validate, build, test, and roll out the Storyboard build 
    • Will this be your existing staff or someone else?

How to Have a Successful Implementation

In order to have a successful implementation of Storyboard, follow these guidelines.

Determine which Epic Foundation Storyboards are appropriate for your organization 

  • This will determine your scope. 
    • If you are not live with Rev Cycle, for example, spending time working on the business department Storyboards won’t provide value. 

Review any guidelines and requirements organization wide that were identified when the Epic header was originally implemented and update the Foundation system build accordingly

  • This gives you the starting point for necessary Foundation build customization before you can validate with your subject matter experts
    • For example, some organizations decide that all headers must show specific information, such as code status, regardless of which user logged in. These guidelines or requirements will likely apply to the Storyboard, as well.
  • Evaluate custom header development to determine if it is still needed for Storyboard. 

Validate the proposed headers with the appropriate end users and site leadership. 

  • Depending on the organization, this could be anyone from key departmental staff all the way up to the executive level

Build

  • Incorporate the feedback from your subject matter experts and build any newly requested Storyboards

Test

  • Confirm all of the data in test patient charts updates the Storyboard as expected

Train

  • Formal training is likely not necessary for Storyboard but the coming change should be communicated to all affected staff. Including Tipsheets and Learning Home Dashboard information is always helpful too. 

Roll-out

  • Go-live and support any issues and change requests

Preparing your team for the latest EHR updates can be a challenge without the support of an experienced partner. If you have questions about this or other upcoming Epic releases, please contact the Alidade Group at contactus@alidadegroup.com.

About the Author: Alex is currently a Consulting Program/Project Manager with Alidade Group, and has been working in healthcare IT since 2010. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Julia, and dog, Pepper. Alex also writes for fun at www.craftybusinesstravel.com