Epic Systems is one of the most popular electronic health records (EHR) systems for large hospitals, according to a recently published report from research firm KLAS. During 2012, Epic scored the most new hospital contracts for the fifth year in a row.
If you are an IT professional who wants to implement or work on Epic software, the vendor (and most hospitals) requires you to become Epic certified. This means you’ve been trained by Epic at their headquarters in Verona, Wis., and have passed multiple tests demonstrating your proficiency in one or more modules of the software. Note: Our firm cannot sponsor your certification, or tell you where to attain certification.
Certification is module-specific. If you are interested in the Epic Ambulatory module, there is a certification for that. If you want to build your skills in Willow, the pharmacy module, you can certify in that, and so on. Epic publishes a complete catalog of all its available certifications and provides the catalog to its customers.
The most common starting point for certification is to work at a hospital that is just beginning or is in the midst of an Epic implementation. You can volunteer or be nominated for Epic certification, and should your hospital choose to sponsor your training, they will pay all or most of your costs, which can be significant as you travel back and forth to Epic.
It’s critical to note that your certification requires a sponsoring employer. You can’t just apply for Epic certification on your own.
Certification also requires hands-on work on one or more Epic projects. This is typically completed at the hospital where you’re employed. From start to end, the length of your certification journey is highly variable, depending on the module, your skill level and your availability to complete the training. The process can take a few months or up to a year or longer.
Once certified, you may undergo periodic re-certification, known as NVT (new version training), to ensure that your skills are up to date. You may also certify in multiple modules of the software, but each requires training steps similar to those outlined above.
After you’ve become Epic-certified through a sponsoring hospital, you will probably be contractually obligated to finish the hospital’s Epic implementation. Depending on your contract terms, you may be required to stay after the go-live date to troubleshoot any hospital employees’ questions about the new software system.
When your contract with the hospital ends, they may ask if you want to extend your contract, or you may opt to become an Epic consultant, which means you will search for Epic consultant jobs and travel to other hospitals to implement the same system for a specified time.