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Campaign: Be more than an electronic health record user - beEpic!

Published on Friday, July 6, 2018

By: Bruce Coleman

Nurses attending an Epic Super User training session June 29 in the Z Building used beEpic writing instruments to jot down information into bright red beEpic notebooks and even cleaned their hands with beEpic-labeled sanitizer.

Even the most casual of observers would conclude these learners must have a very important role to play in the success of Epic, the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s chosen electronic health record.

That’s the exact message Division of Information Systems leaders wished to convey with the beEpic campaign. Launched officially in February, the campaign carries the slogan “be the difference. beEpic” to remind all users that each of them, individually, determines the success or failure of the Epic upgrade, scheduled to take place Saturday-Sunday, July 21-22.

“Historically, whenever we had a massive upgrade, users have felt like DIS is making changes behind the scenes and keeping it to themselves,” said Dr. Sharon M. Pennington, assistant professor of pediatrics (hematology/oncology), who has been heavily involved in the upgrade. “We’ve had a lot more engagement this time around. We’ve had a lot of employees test it, and they’ve actually found a lot of issues we’ve been able to address. It’s been a lot more proactive.”

UMMC staff attending a Super User session proudly display their beEpic notebooks and pens. The Super Users include, clockwise from top left, Vernecia Miller, medical office assistant in the Batson Community Clinic; Ashley May, L.P.N. in the University Physicians Pavilion Dermatology Suite K; Kristy Garrett, senior instructional designer in Information Systems and Super User instructor; Tracy Breeden, R.N., care coordinator in University Physicians Pavilion Dermatology Suite K; Marlo Shellenback, R.N., at the Select Infusion Center; and Jasuntria Evans, R.N. at the Batson Community Clinic.   

The fourth – and final – massive upgrade to UMMC’s electronic health record system since it was first implemented in 2012, the update will move from the current Epic version 2015 to Epic 2018.


According to Dr. Paul Veregge, UMMC chief information officer and chief medical information officer, this month’s upgrade will “bring us up to speed with the best in the medical industry and provide us with numerous features to enhance performance and patient care.”

“We will jump two versions with this upgrade,” Pennington said. “We’re normally one version behind, but we’re going to be one of the early adopters of the latest version of Epic.

“We took this upgrade as an opportunity to really look at our system and what the end-users’ needs are. We listened to every group we could, from respiratory therapists to physicians to nurse managers and nurses. We developed a lot of contacts and used them to help guide us, to help evaluate Epic’s features and enhancements.”

It’s considered the last massive upgrade; From now on, Epic will be updated quarterly.

“We are going to continually engage the users,” Pennington said. “With each quarterly update, we’re going to ask, ‘What enhancements should we do? What should we leave alone?”


The quarterly upgrade will be a much easier process, according to Kimberly Burley, Epic optimization manager.

“The benefit of doing smaller upgrades is you get access to more features more quickly – you don’t have to wait for the annual upgrade,” Burley said. “We’ll just go through a normal downtime procedure when it updates every three months.”  

While planning for this last massive Epic refresh, DIS leaders understood the importance of communicating to all Epic users that they hold the key to the record’s success. Thus, the branding campaign was launched.

Using a slogan derived from one of Veregge’s many presentations to executive leadership, the effort began by printing beEpic buttons and passing them out during “listening sessions” with physicians, nurses and other clinical staff members. Before long, the buttons started popping out all around the clinical areas, clipped to staff members and supervisors’ badges.


Notebooks, pens and hand sanitizers bearing the beEpic message quickly followed, and the beEpic slogan was plastered throughout Epic Happenings, Veregge’s internal electronic newsletter.


“We did a massive push of items to clinical areas,” said Julie Green, information technology program manager. “We delivered ‘bling’ to different floors, to outpatient clinics and other areas to remind them of the difference they can make with Epic.”  


The intent, according to Lisa Lott, senior information technology communications analyst, is to make the term “beEpic” easily recognizable and synonymous with the institution’s health record system.

“We want the campaign to be centered on our users, their wants and their needs,” Lott said. “Our users are what makes UMMC different from all other organizations.”

“We want them involved in Epic and we want to make sure they’re getting out of Epic what they really need,” Pennington said.

Burley said the campaign slogan has resonated with most users who have participated in the upgrade thus far.

“It’s a clear slogan and they see it as a reminder for them to pay attention to the upgrade,” she said. “I believe they think it makes sense. Nobody’s been confused when we’ve handed them a beEpic button.

“The campaign has been a real change agent to help the users realize we’re shifting the focus to them.”

“We’re trying to change a perception,” Pennington said. “At first, it used to be that when someone had an issue with Epic, the thought was that nobody at DIS listens and nobody cares. We’re changing that perception.”

According to Pennington, the beEpic messaging will continue long after this month’s upgrade is in DIS’ rearview mirror.

“The main message of the beEpic campaign is that the users own Epic,” Pennington said. “It’s their tool. We work on it in DIS, but it’s theirs. And we intend to continue the messaging throughout the ‘lifetime’ of Epic.”