Habush Habush and Rottier

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Epic's Principles, Part 2

See Part 1 here

Epic's next two principles also go together really well, so they'll share a blog post.

3. Expectations = reality.
4. Keep commitments.

If I remember correctly, Judy explained number 3 as "What the customer expects to happen is what they judge us [Epic] by." She went on to give an example, paraphrased here: If they expect flying monkeys to jump out of the screen and hand deliver an AVS to the patient, they'll be disappointed when that doesn't happen and that will reflect poorly on Epic when KLAS scores are being given. Therefore, Epic employees should manage their customers' expectations.

The fourth principle is like it: If you say you're going to do something, do it. I.E., if customers expect you to do something, make sure that you do that thing so that reality matches the customers' expectations.

Epic has a hit-or-miss track record with this, and it all depends on how much Epic overworks its customer-facing employees. When I was hired, one of Epic's differentiators was that they had umpteen employees per customer, instead of having each employee oversee several customers at once. As we all know, the ratio has changed somewhat--there are still more employees than customers, but pretty much everyone in a customer-facing role oversees several customers at once. During my tenure, this worked well for the lower-maintenance applications, like Cadence or Identity. It emphatically did not work for Epiccare Ambulatory or Inpatient, especially since the purchasers of those applications expected undivided attention from their TS.

The major clinical applications just have too many issues, too many customizations for one person to handle multiple customers. Deadlines will inevitably slip, one very verbal customer will get more attention the the customer with the extra-savvy analysts, and all customers will get upset because they're not getting the attention that they expect to get. Expectations did not match reality, and commitments could not be kept.

The work you promised to do to your one customer doesn't get done because your other customer had an unplanned downtime in addition to being affected by a new patient safety escalation.

Epic is not set up such that commitments can be kept or expectations can be met. They need to hire TS at the same rate as they take on new customers, and they need to retain the employees they have. A lot of burnout could be prevented by Epic having realistic expectations for its employees, and the voluntary turnover could be ameliorated somewhat. The involuntary turnover would be less of a problem as well, due to less burnout-induced mistakes.

Epic's 2 for 4 on their principles. They are NOT following these at all, and are, in fact, setting themselves up for failure on these fronts. It would be so easy for them to hire/retain/retrain the employees to meet the demands of the job; it just seems like Epic isn't interested in that.


  1. Very enthusiastically looking forward to your continued examination of principles.

  2. It wasn't working for Cadence and Identity either.

  3. This is a wonderful blog. I almost feel compelled to try and match it from a customer's perspective. Yes, the clients do get restless when they see a campus that is SO outrageous, yet are being delivered software that is SO bug ridden. At times its almost as though they are hiring developers from a third world nation because the bugs are so ridiculous its almost hard to imagine a competent developer even having the creativity to devise such awful code let alone doing it inadvertantly or accidentally.

    1. This comment made me lol. If you ever want to write some guest posts, leave a comment with your contact info. We can make it happen.