University of Utah Health Care Plans for Epic Rollout to Specialty Clinics

University of Utah Health Care (UUHC) is the Intermountain West’s only academic health care system, which provides care for Utahns and residents of five surrounding states in a referral area encompassing more than 10 percent of the continental United States. University of Utah Health Care relies on more than 1,100 board-certified physicians who staff four university hospitals, 10 community clinics, and several specialty centers. University of Utah Health Care is consistently ranked among US News & World Report’s Best Hospitals, and its academic partners at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, and Health are internationally regarded research and teaching institutions.

University of Utah Health Care
Jim Turnbull, Chief Information Officer

“Aspen Advisors provided us solid advice to prepare us for and plan our large, multi-year program of rolling out EpicCare to our specialty clinics. They understood the political complexities and recommended approaches for standardizing care across and within the specialties, sequencing the clinics, and structuring the implementation and support teams so that we complete our rollout by the end of 2013.”


University of Utah Health Care had been in the process of implementing Epic throughout the organization. UUHC had already completed the implementation of Prelude, Cadence, and Resolute. They also supported a central billing office for the clinics across the enterprise and had implemented EpicCare for 100 primary care physicians in 10 clinics. UUHC was about to initiate the rollout of EpicCare to the 82 specialty clinics on campus with the goal of completing the implementation of the specialty clinics by June 30, 2013 (26 months).

A small team of six was in place to support EpicCare for the primary care clinics. The team understood the primary care environment. However, the specialty clinics presented a new challenge. UUHC desired assistance preparing for and planning the large, multi-year program of rolling out EpicCare to the specialty clinics.


Because of its experience implementing Epic in primary care, specialty care, and inpatient settings, Aspen Advisors was engaged to advise the UUHC IT and Epic project team leadership in preparing for this initiative. Specific objectives of this engagement included:

  • Advising on the project team organization to achieve the rollout goal and timeline including:
    • How to scope the initiative and assess the implementation scope and magnitude;
    • Options for logically grouping the clinic rollouts to optimize the design, build, and support for go-live (e.g., similar workflows, geographical proximity, political factors, etc.);
    • Composition of post go-live support structures;
    • How to anticipate scheduled upgrades and other factors that can stall out a go-live; and
    • Support required from the infrastructure team;
  • Providing advice on the optimal ongoing support team structure and transitioning the team to address the upcoming inpatient acute care EpicCare implementation including strategies for reshaping the team once the specialty clinics were live to focus on the inpatient acute implementation;
  • Sharing lessons learned on training, facilities, planning and logistics, communication, and role of standardization in specialty clinics; and
  • Advising on effective team building including mechanisms to build effective teams, benefits of recruiting clinicians verses traditional IT staff, characteristics to look for, internal and external sources for recruiting staff, how to qualify potential staff, training mechanisms, and staff retention strategies.


As a result of the engagement, the University of Utah Health Care had a roadmap for their large, multi-year program for rolling out EpicCare to the specialty clinics. This plan supported the goal of achieving maximum Meaningful Use reimbursement for their specialty clinics. In addition to the implementation roadmap, Aspen Advisors also delivered an associated implementation plan and toolkit that established a repeatable process for each implementation.

Following approval of the specialty clinics implementation roadmap, UUHC engaged Aspen to also serve as the Interim Project Director over the EpicCare rollout at the specialty clinics. This included providing leadership to the existing ambulatory team; providing the structure for the implementation process; and coaching and mentoring UUHC staff, providing knowledge transfer, and transitioning to the permanent UUHC project manager once hired.