Hiring for an Epic Implementation? Start With a Plan

Epic Hiring Guide Blog

The decision to buy and implement an Epic Systems electronic health record (EHR) is typically one of the largest strategic investments a hospital or health system will make.

With Epic at the center of your patient care strategy, you will want to hire the best and brightest Epic-skilled talent you can find. But here's the problem: so does every other hospital in the country with an Epic EHR.

A large-scale implementation typically requires hundreds of highly-skilled IT professionals and you will need these individuals years after launch to maintain, upgrade and optimize your system. But where do you find them? How much should you pay them? And how do you retain the best Epic talent for the long haul?

We answer these questions and more in our new guide, Building an Epic Team:  An Insider’s Guide to Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Epic-Skilled IT Professionals.

Epic Hiring Advice

Our extensive report is based on our own experience as one of the nation's leading health IT consulting and staffing firms, as well as interviews with senior healthcare executives who have built their own high-performing Epic teams at some of the nation’s top hospitals.

Rapidly screening and hiring for an Epic project is a lot of work. As Jamie Nelson, CIO, Hospital for Special Surgery in New York told us, “Hospitals can underestimate the amount of time it takes to mount a quality recruiting effort.”

>> Download the guide: Hiring and Retaining an Epic Team

Our eBook presents a step-by-step guide for Epic recruiting and expert tips for hiring success. Here are 8 key takeaways from the report.

Start with a plan. Your internal hiring plan should be mapped to key implementation dates. Create a dedicated hiring team with representation from senior management, IT, HR and other departments (clinical, finance) involved with the Epic project.

Create your ideal Epic org chart. Determine, as best possible, all of the contract and full-time roles required for your implementation and put them onto an org chart. Group the roles by key functions and highlight those that are a priority for project initiation.

Hire from inside—and outside. Many organizations fill up to half or more of their permanent Epic positions with internal employees who receive Epic training. Epic-certified external hires are equally critical for their deep Epic knowledge and past implementation experience.

Publicize Your Hiring Efforts. Spreading the word about your project stimulates candidate interest. Highly publicized, desirable implementations attract skilled talent from across the country.

Embrace consultants. Most large-scale Epic projects rely, to some extent, on hourly contract consultants. They are quicker to onboard and provide a flexible bridge to permanent hires.

Don’t skimp on pay and benefits. Competitive salaries are critical for attracting talent. Be prepared to stretch salary bands. Benchmark pay at other local Epic hospitals and use bonuses or other incentives as added sweeteners.

Interviewing must be efficient and organized. Efficient pre-screening and interviewing are keys to building a large team quickly. Internal stakeholders must block out time for interviewing to avoid becoming a bottleneck. Make decisive hiring decisions so top talent doesn't slip away.

Have a retention plan or lose your top talent. Hiring without a strategy to keep your employees engaged for the long-haul is short-sighted. Keep employees loyal with a multi-pronged retention plan that addresses financial need, lifestyle and career goals.

If your institution is surrounded by other Epic hospitals then prepare to up your game. As David Keith Butler, MD, former VP, Epic Optimization, Sutter Health told us: "I don’t think we’ve ever had to compete this hard in the history of Healthcare for talented IT resources."

The good news is that the talent is out there. You just have to find it and attract it. We hope our guide proves valuable for you in your own Epic hiring journey.