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Improving Epic In Basket Efficiency – Hot Tips to Cool Provider Frustration

Author: Erica Perez, Consulting Architect, Epic Services

Do you know a healthcare provider that can tell you exactly how many clicks a specific workflow takes them to complete, or how many minutes they spend repetitively completing the same EHR requirement? Based on my 15 years working with providers on the Epic platform, implementing quick wins to reduce clicks go a long way to helping providers spend time on what’s truly valuable, their patients. This post focuses on the Epic In Basket – a tool that can function as an efficient communication highway, or can feel like a rush-hour traffic jam.

In 2020, the amount of time providers were spending in front of their computer screen increased exponentially. As healthcare organizations adapted to care for their patients virtually, along with it came an influx of In Basket messages ranging from patient-initiated MyChart questions to prescription refill requests. Below we’ll walk through three main areas to focus your attention on as the first step in creating a more efficient In Basket experience.

Organization is Key

Having a streamlined In Basket for providers is imperative. Organizing the In Basket to have the most important folders toward the top so that providers are not having to look through a long list of folders could be a shift to the In Basket structure that saves your providers valuable time. Many organizations opt for alphabetically-organized folders during the initial implementation. While the alphabetical list seems intuitive, it may not be the most helpful for your providers if they are routinely reading messages for Rx Authorizations or Results, for example. Moving the high-use folders toward the top makes the important messages easier to see and reduces scrolling.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Reviewing the columns that are available for each message type may not seem critical, but can end up saving providers meaningful amounts of time when the most relevant information is clearly present. For example, having the patient’s phone number visible within a column for the Patient Calls message type gives the provider quick access in the event they need to call the patient regarding the message. But for an Rx Requests message, having the phone number of the patient’s pharmacy to be able to readily contact would be much more efficient. Simple adjustments, but highly effective to eliminate the need to view and scroll through the associated message reports or patient’s chart to find key information.

Taking Action

In tandem with making sure valuable information is quickly viewable for each message type, it is beneficial to review the actions providers are taking to respond to messages. The use of QuickActions to consolidate several steps or clicks into one is a game-changer. For example, communicating back to a patient that their lab results are normal is a task providers do regularly.  Instead of providers having to separately create the communication, define the recipients, and fill out the body of the message for each individual result message, a QuickAction allows providers to queue up the message and leverages the use of SmartTools to predefine the information that will populate the message in one succinct step.

Next Steps

Depending on the security access and savviness of your providers, the ability exists for individuals to start implementing these ideas immediately.  For organizations looking for more wide-sweeping changes for their providers, we recommend a system-level review as well as specialty-specific meetings and individualized customization settings to see the most improvement in provider In Basket efficiency.

If you’re ready to improve provider In Basket efficiency but aren’t sure where or how to start, CereCore Epic experts are happy to connect with you to help devise and execute a plan. In addition, CereCore offers Epic MyChart Support Desk Services to assist with the growing number of patient and provider-initiated portal support calls that often impact provider front office staff.

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