Epic Pharmacy Informatics Consultant



what is going on everyone today I have a very exciting video for you guys so my channel obviously is about pharmacy informatics or a lot of it is but more so than that I get a lot of questions about consulting in pharmacy informatics and today I'm very excited because I'll be sharing an interview very informative interview with one of my colleagues and he's gonna shed some light on that all right let's get right to it so let's start with the basics well won't you tell us a little bit about your educational background where you went to school when you study alright so I graduated undergrad from st. Olaf College which is liberal arts college in Northfield Minnesota that was in 2011 I was a political science major interested in international relations political theory and I kind of thought I'm probably going to become a lawyer I'm gonna work for an NGO I was pretty involved even as a youth in in politics elections I did a lot of you know work volunteering for four different candidates in my home state of Wisconsin than nationally so that was why I decided to do a political science major at st. Olaf and it's coming out of school I thought I was gonna be again a lawyer work for an NGO that's where I applied but eventually I did apply to epic near the end of my senior year and they hired me for that summer so I started working in epic right after I graduated from school and I spent two years there on the will of impatient team implementation and I you know I liked it at epic a lot I enjoyed my job I enjoyed the travel I actually enjoyed the travel a little too much because I decided after about exactly two years to quit and I spent a good year just travelling in the US and around the world and my my motivation for that was that's really what I liked about life I've always enjoyed traveling from the time I was a kid I had a lot of opportunities but you know at age 24 or 25 I realized I'd either been in school or working for my entire life and I wanted just a break so I took it okay so the the background is a little interest how did you even think about epically how did they even come up so that's an interesting question I was you know applying for jobs and not really sure what I wanted to do exactly and it wasn't until my mom who's was a family physician now retired who had been a physician champion on an epic implementation at her hospital in the early 2000s so I was probably having dinner or on the phone with her and she was talking to me about you know what do you think you're gonna do once you graduate and I said well I've you know apply to some NGOs I got this job remember I got a job offer from the company was but it's basically to go up to Berkeley California and canvass for different social causes and and you know at the time I thought that would be a cool thing to do I yeah love California but she reminded me that that probably wouldn't pay really well and we went over what they had told me which was essentially if you didn't get enough signatures for these causes you would be fired pretty much immediately and I looked into that and thought well that's probably a bad idea so my mom this family position said you know I've gone down too epic a lot and I've gone to you GM I've worked with a lot of the employees there they all seem pretty happy they all seem to like what they're doing so maybe you should try applying there and my mom's pretty smart I trust her a lot so I went with that and yeah sure enough I applied was invited down for you know they're they're kind of long day long interview process after a phone interview that one well enough and they hired me so after I after I graduated in early June I started the day after July 4th in 2016 Wow very interesting story yeah so my mom definitely was this catalyst that that brought me to epic and without her recommendation it probably would never happen that's cool so tell me about will impatient and the folks on the phone made the suppose on the net may not know what will impatient is can you tell me like how you came about to that you just good days you know epic I think there's a pretty good job with their interview process and what we would always say on the will of impatient team and I think other teams as well is how you'd find people that were pretty similar to you as far as like willow is a lot of the guys on willow is that I became friends with played soccer we actually were all on the epic you know intramural soccer team that played in the leak in Madison so it was weird there were similarities that you'd find with people and yeah I didn't choose I remember they asked are you more interested in patient care or the economic billing side and I definitely went with patient care that was that was my answer because as far as those two options I think patient care is more interesting than just doing Billy so you know you show up day one and you don't know what team you're gonna be on until you get epic on your first day and they start you in two groups so at first I was like alright pharmacy right I don't know much about this but I'm willing to learn and you go through a pretty intensive training process you go through all the classes and I mean at this point it's it's the part of epic that I understand the most obviously I do have certifications and beacon and I understand obviously Clin doc orders other inpatient parts but yeah will impatient the the process of that working with pharmacists I've enjoyed a lot and people do say out of all the different end-users that you do work with pharmacists tend to be kind of the most competent with computer systems already and that's definitely I found that to be true at most organizations that worked up that's the nice thing to say that are you Harry Potter fan by chance oh yeah this kind of makes me think of the Sorting Hat right they want to think I different that they have some sort of I'm not sure if it's just people talking through all right we interviewed Jordan what team would he fit on well he said he wanted to patient care let's go through those and why would we stick him and we'll inpatient well he showed a good understanding of this in his interview or testing and actually so I applied to be either is or a writer so an interesting thing epic does for writers is they have you write a bunch of essays during your during your interview process so maybe it's just something I wrote in there that they noticed it's it's definitely not something they tell you you know this is why we put you on this team yeah just sort of happen that way okay well very cool that's a very interesting background yeah thanks for sharing so you've been in the business since 2016 is when you said you graduated no I graduated 2011 so you been working with epic since 2011 or I worked with epic for two years pretty much exactly two years 2011 – 2013 july and then with the non-compete I took a year off and you know at the point of a year I started dabbling looking for consulting or full-time positions that was my plan from the beginning was to take a year off wait out the non-compete and then try and find a position that worked for me so yeah and that was in that would have been the summer of 2014 I started looking and then it wasn't actually hired until 2015 that was my first position that I got post epic for a company that was merging with another organization actually they both were already live on Epic and I was brought in to essentially keep up this old system while they combined everything into this other system so just essentially helping out everybody over here until it finally actually merged so okay yeah that was that was my first job after it so about three issues now three or four years as a consultant well so two years at Epic 2015 early is when I started doing consulting work so we would put it at about you know three years and ten months at this point yeah how many organizations have you worked with now I have worked with three since since I since I started consulting okay so these are like very common questions here that mother has kind of like a day in the life of Jordan over here right so what is a typical day well it it certainly changes with the season of what's happening so I'm the current project I'm on there have been multiple goal lives there have been certainly different phases of what we're working on there's been I mean I came into the project with it already being started so when I was brought in my main source of work were you know a couple people who needed help on things that they were trying to complete before the first go live so for instance I was tasked with going through order sets and just checking them out seeing if there's typos in any of the orders medications specifically they had done a lot of the order set build prior to finishing up their or durables and dispensable so I just kind of looked through all of them that was that was the initial work I was tasked with but since then since go lives a lot of it has been ticket resolution for end users who report things that's the majority of what I spend my time on now nowadays but certainly I think my main role is it can as a consultant on the will inpatient team who is not a pharmacist which I think is different than most consultants you see in the wolf inpatient world are either pharmacists who have worked you know at a hospital that that uses epic and they decided I want to go into the more informatics side for me I just have a good understanding of epic little invasion in particular and how to how to use all the tools within epic as an analyst the proper ways the fastest ways is the game things done right quickly so a lot of the analysts on this team have reached out to me to help them with build help them with is basically anything under the Sun I've always turned myself on this project in particular as a handyman people reach out to me for questions or help when they're stuck no I certainly attest to that yeah yeah as I had personally asked for help myself I remember early on you you ask me questions and sometimes I did not really know the answers but I was definitely willing to to look into things I knew how to search you know epics databases of information to find answers for people absolutely you are a good addition to the team so you know with that said obviously you talked about a lot of things that you do a lot of variety of things what are the things you like the most and one of the things you like the least so I think from my time and epoch all the way up until now the most interesting thing about willow invasion is you'll receive an issue someone's experiencing something they don't know why it's happening and there's a lot of places for you to look you kind of have to figure what might be the root cause you go and you test if that is the root cause maybe it's not at first and you need to do something else so I think the logic aspect of trying to pinpoint where an issue is is that's the most fun finding out what that thing is fixing it and letting somebody know that you know the workflow or this order that they're trying to place is now going to work properly for them can be a pretty enjoyable experience okay so what about the opposite well it's kind of the other side of the same coin you have an end user who reports something and you try and work with them to fix it and they aren't very responsive to you or things fall off and you can just become frustrated by the lack of obviously they want to fix but they assume just giving you a little bit is going to help you solve it but really you need to work with them more closely so that can be a frustration that that happens sometimes but that's you know that's a minor portion of how it works usually people do want something to work and they'll they'll be ready to help you do that okay and so for this next one is informatics in itself especially with something like epic you know there's a lot of version upgrades and just new things that come out all the time right whether it's you know in a software or maybe regulations like new meds and stuff like that do you often feel as though the questions that are thrown at you are things you already know or do you typically have to go and do a little searching to find the correct answer and it's a bit of both okay some things will never change I mean in your ex record it hasn't changed much from epic 2010 which is what I was first certified on until now and 2018 obviously if you have new items new features epic does a pretty great job of making sure you're up to date by requiring new version training and you just kind of by you know from 2015 when I started doing it self until now I've had enough you know on-the-job experience of things as they change to to keep up but of course you know it's it's always worthwhile to to be good at searching the user web it's it it's a trove of information that you're not going to be able to keep in your your head all at once so yeah sometimes I'll be going off and trying to look at the guidebooks the set up and support guides especially when I get a question from an analyst that I don't know the answer to but as far as just working as a willow inpatient analysts I feel like I've got the you know the wrote things down at this point seen that the two years of epic and almost four years of consulting you know six years experience on one portion of that big I've kind of I don't know if that's 10,000 hours yet but hey it must be good first it's nice to be done close yeah let's talk a little bit about the job market sure it's always a hot topic yeah so you know in your job searches over the last couple organizations you've worked with how you just felt you know anecdotally have you felt as though there was a lot of jobs out there little like so like I said coming into it my non-compete ended about mid 2014 and that's when I started looking a consulting agency did pick me up and you know they they promised a lot of things like we'll find you a job but six months went by and wasn't going anywhere and it just kind of happened out of the blue LinkedIn is a great resource there's clearly a lot of people agencies recruiters looking for certain people to fill certain positions that they know about so someone actually contacted me and she is now the person who's got me all three of my consulting gigs post epic she is someone who is very connected and I feel really lucky that she met me or I met her I you know you can't really say which it is because she I think she reached out to me first but a lot of people reach out to you so the chance that it worked out with us she was just a really nice person to meet and and has helped me out a lot as far as moving up and the position I'm in now I feel more not so much comfortable my first job I felt comfortable as well but this kind of fits the is role that I was working at epic more than the two gigs that I had before because those were both for already live customers so going back to my roots of implementation has been really fun and I think I've had a wealth of experience now in all sorts of ways the first gig being where they were merging two instances into one and I was helping keep up the old one the second job where they had been live for something like seven to ten years and we're really just trying to maintain and keep up that was really interesting I had an amazing time working with the physicians advisory group on order sets fixing those up changing them using functionality that they hadn't had originally to fix up their order sets and make them work a lot better for providers and now here kind of coming in on almost the ground floor probably a year after the implementation started in full I've had a bunch of experiences that remind me of my time at epic and across the board it just has given me a lot of different things to to be proud of and also just to feel like I'm a pretty competent Willow inpatient analyst it's good and you are and I'm sure you hear a lot of people talk people climb me on the back seat okay well that is excellent and I'm sure the person you're referencing really appreciates in comments that so three jobs that you've been with so far both for the consulting piece okay you talk of a high level of how that came about no you already referenced that LinkedIn is a great tool right how was like some of the logistics there like you guys just met like she so sometimes she she would actually reach out to me and say alright I have this position through this agency for this hospital so she was almost she was kind of on her own she moved around a bit and worked for multiple different consulting agencies so she would tell me about a job I would say okay let's say you know an interview and I would I would talk to the hospital I barely talked to the consulting agency because she was really working for them she just needs to get me in front of the hospital that wanted to hire me so I remember she actually got me an interview and I went and you know you walk in and there's the the willow had maybe some willow analysts there there to kind of ask you some questions see if you know what you're talking about I think a problem that sometimes arises is resumes aren't always as accurate as people yeah tell you I've worked with people who say I have this many years experience this is what I can do then sometimes maybe they don't actually have that but for me you know I want to prove myself and I think my resume does a good job clearly be next epic has helped me pretty pretty well in my search for jobs as a consultant but that first interview I went to was the first time I'd ever you know really interviewed for a consulting gig and they just kind of peppered me with questions how was your experience at epic what did you do there and I actually didn't end up getting that job due to a law that said I needed to have three years experience to be a supervisor they were actually looking for a general supervisor for willow and beacon and Willow ambulatory and I guess there's a federal regulation that says in order to be a supervisor you need three years experience I only had two so you know she I remember I called her and she or maybe she called me a day or two later saying you know this is what's happening they can't hire you but they wanted to hire you so that gave me it like this interesting boost but also weird am I not going to be able to find a job because I only worked two years I thought I gained enough experience at Epic I'd been through one and a half implementations one full and then when I I'd love to we were in probably the the middle of the build phase so after that you know I kept in contact with her and she found me an interview probably a few weeks later and same sort of a thing I talked to somebody on the phone showed up for a quick interview at their offices and you know I I haven't been denied I've been turned down for a job that I've interviewed for except for that first one so I haven't interviewed and been told well you're not qualified enough or we don't we don't think we want to go with you and so as far as that goes I found it to be not easy but having a relationship with one person who is clearly interested in finding new positions that work for you I think that's the most important thing you don't want to go in an interview for something that you're not ready for you're not qualified for so I know a lot of people do that on their own they try and find positions without somebody guiding them but yeah so would you a trivial a lot of like the success of you finding suitable jobs yeah cuz I wouldn't have known that where to look how to look who to talk to okay you can look at job boards and they'll delisting x' and you can certainly just reach out directly there send the hospital resume but by working with someone who is so many great connections not just to consulting agencies but who has placed people in jobs at those hospitals before they know that the hospital knows they can trust that person so if they show up with somebody saying this this might be a good candidate for your open position I think the hospital is more likely to take that as yeah this is probably a sure bet this this person wouldn't give us this candidate without them being a positive candidate for us it's very interesting right I know some people really are anti recruiter anybody agency but I you know I I would just rather have somebody there who's helping me along than then taking all that responsibility on myself okay and going back to this whole looking for a job thing do you what I think that answer is very obvious but I want to get your take on it just to confirm what do you think made you very attractive for the very first gig be next I think I think so you know I think any time that shows up on a resume and somebody's there looking for somebody who's experienced certainly you could hire someone who worked at a hospital that was live on Epic but I think a big boost a big bonus is if you actually have worked at Epic you're gonna have more experience than when somebody who's only worked at one hospital perhaps at epic I was involved with you know a lot of that a lot of the groups in will impatient that worked to improve the the application itself let alone the work I did for different hospitals on their implementations so I think the experience you gain there is understood throughout the industry to be above and beyond just being an employee at a hospital that has gone live on Epic or has been live you've worked in the system for a bit ok that's I think that's very fair and I would agree with that too you touched on this a little bit already but about interviews what have some of those interview questions that might have been pretty vague or is this really not so vague they really want to get keyed into what kind of issues have you seen and how did you solve them it can be cliche like what was a really challenging issue that you overcame and how did you overcome it or you know what is what is a piece of work that you're particularly proud of so clearly you know having multiple implementations under my belt I had a couple different stories I could tell about that how I helped things get across the line how I you know assisted the analyst I was working with when I was in implementation and more generally one of the things I talked about in interviews most of all is that I'm I'm ready to work hard for your come you know it's the cliche things that you say in work interviews but specific to epic I don't like this question has always been fine at me because all I'm doing is going in being myself being approachable being I'm gonna give you honest answers about what I've done and I think people appreciate that yeah no absolutely sometimes people would just you know think too much into it and you know come out not themselves that make sense so we're always nice to get affirmation from these Kevin videos yeah okay well if you're willing to share what what type of compensation have you seen at the diversity right yeah always to some of the heights I would say and not just yourself yeah colleagues I'm aware of people who get paid more than I do I think that has a lot to do with how are they you know are they on their own are they working through a consulting agency are they pharmacists typically pharmacists are paid more as consultants than someone who's a non pharmacist but yeah I think a good example is is my second job you know I say I've been doing consulting which I would say is true because it's short term gigs for the most part but on my second one they hired me as a consultant two full times so I was paid a more consulting range of salary and then after three months I was knocked down to more of a full time so compensation wise I have ranged from about pride $40 an hour up to $100 an hour so there is quite a bit of range for me I know that it can go up to as much as two hundred three hundred dollars an hour I would my eyes would you know balled up my brain would explode if I ever were offered a job at that level but clearly it's it's well paying enough that I'm not too worried about what cut the consulting agency takes I'm not too worried about demanding more and with consulting gigs like the one I'm on now you don't get any vacation time so they're paying you for that as well and at the end of the day I'm making more than I ever thought I would be in any point in my career whatever it may have been so to be nitpicky about where I'm at doesn't doesn't match my personality and I'm pretty low-key when it comes to that but obviously glad to be in a career and on a path where I'm doing well for myself just bought a house a nice life is breed there are probably a lot of individuals out there that would love to be in your shoes they might yes so if there was a one high-level tip advice you can give them one thing one key nugget what what would that be something short I'm not sure epic would like me to say this but go work at epic and then find yourself after that there's a lot of people who who get into this by being in a hospital ward epic is is live working in that job for a while insane well now I'd like to move into informatics I saw that every place I've been there were pharmacist farm techs who moved from from a role as an actual pharmacist into the informatics team but from where I'm standing my experience at epic is the reason why I'm now wearing that so you can learn a lot you can you can certainly gain a lot of experience and they don't expect the majority of their employees to stay for for many years although some do I mean the the epic team on the willow inpatient scene here I pretty much know you know 33% of them a third of the epic staff who are on the will of inpatient team here I met and worked with while I was at epic I guess my table would be as I've already kind of stated in my answers go work it epic for a bit that's that's the way you're gonna learn the most you're gonna be able to to have literally thousands of people around you who are working on on epic projects you're gonna learn a ton and by the time you're ready to leave if you want to go into consulting I think they're going to be positions in the consulting world for epic projects for a long time to come awesome well that's all the time we have and thank you to Jordan thanks Brian for but I'm actually answering very honest answers thank you thanks again hey guys thanks for tuning in and watching the video if you like the content definitely hit the impro RX button over to your left to subscribe and definitely check out more videos over here to your right now as always if you have questions comments and even better suggestions for future videos definitely let me know in the comments below otherwise until next time guys

2 Comments

  1. Kurt Scheeler said:

    Great video, thanks for the all the info. About compensation, Brian mentioned he's experienced salaries that range from $40-100/hr, which is great. My question is, what do these salaries translate into Annually. Its great if you make $60/hr but if you're only working 1000 hours a year as a consultant (full time = 2080 hrs/year), then its not as attractive. Thanks in advance

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  2. Rozu Hime said:

    Great interview. It’s interesting that he’s not a pharmacist. Also interesting is that my mom just had surgery in a hospital that uses Epic, and now you uploaded an interview with a consultant for Epic. 👍🏼

    May 23, 2019
    Reply

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