Epic Training is remodeled for safety during COVID-19
Registration is open and training is on schedule
By Claudia Dolphin
With registration for Epic training underway, the schedule continues to move forward. As planned, the start of actual employee training will begin in late August.
The on-time start time is remarkable, considering the COVID-19 outbreak. It required a sudden shift to virtual content delivery, said Darlene Vendittelli, Executive Director for Information Systems for Cape Cod Healthcare (CCHC).
“Once COVID-19 arrived, we needed to be nimble enough to help most of our staff work in a virtual capacity,” she said. “Consequently, we knew quickly that bringing people back into a full onsite training model this fall would no longer work for us.”
All along, the plan was to follow the typical Epic protocol for classroom-based training, where credentialed trainers would be on site and interacting in person. Social distancing requirements challenged that model.
Vendittelli and her team considered several approaches to remodeling the training program, understanding that it was unlikely they would find a one-size-fits-all solution.
“We recognized early on that even if we went with a hundred-percent virtual model, there was still a need to provide some employees with an onsite virtual training space,” she said. “Nurses, in particular, don’t usually have a private office space in their typical day-to-day environment and they may not have that available to them at home.”
The outcome of that analysis is a hybrid model, where all training will be delivered virtually using Skype, a communication tool that operates in real time and is interactive. It will be accessible to anyone with the required computer equipment and a quiet space either at work or at home.
Onsite training rooms will be available to accommodate those employees who do not have the required access and equipment, and technical support will be made available to all.
Accommodating classroom-based participants has added an ongoing challenge. Originally, some classrooms were configured to host up to 20 people at a time. That number has been reduced by half or more in some classrooms. Consequently, adjusting the registration period and making slots available is something still in the works.
“It is an iterative process and we are getting a lot of feedback,” said Vendittelli.
“We are trying to make everything fit with the class offerings we have. However, we are finding now that with reduced capacity for these classroom spaces we are getting requests to add classes to the schedule. We are closely monitoring.”
The safety measures required for classroom training adds an extra layer of attention.
Vice President of Facilities for CCHC Mike Bachstein, and his team, have been leading the effort to redesign the training rooms to ensure that safety requirements are being met.
In lieu of temperature checks, all classroom-based participants will be required to complete COVID-19 screening questions upon entry.
“We reviewed with the architect and modified our site plans to ensure there was six feet of distancing side to side and front to back in all training areas,” said Bachstein. “We also have added Purell stations at all sites, along with sanitizing wipe locations for easy convenience. Participants will be asked to wipe down their stations upon arrival and as they leave the training sites.”
There will be no face-to-face seating, he added.
Bachstein continues to help identify new training room space beyond the ones already designated. In the end, this will help expand the available slots for classroom-based training.
Vendittelli explained that when COVID-19 hit, her team was in the curriculum development phase. Consequently, they had to go back and do some reconstruction. It was not a complete overhaul. Rather, minor changes needed to be made to accurately reflect the difference of in-person versus virtual training.
“We did have to alter the curriculum to accommodate the virtual environment. Things like how you present materials and direct attention to them. It was things that really were more about the style of training than the content,” she said.
For Paul Solverson, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for CCHC, the speed of response has allowed the project to continue its forward momentum.
“We are in somewhat uncharted and unprecedented areas,” he said. “People are going to have to be patient and flexible with the process, especially because it’s a new way of doing things. Historically, training has been very much classroom based. We are moving quickly and swiftly to make necessary adjustments but we are very much a go. We’re doing this.”