'We can't do what we do without being together' says Epic exec — 12 steps it's taking to return employees to campus

Epic will require most employees to return from remote work to its Verona, Wis., campus in September even as many other companies, including Cerner, are planning for a prolonged or permanent remote work arrangement.

Epic's Chief Administrative Officer Sverre Roang explained why in a CBS News report. "We know that we have this responsibility to healthcare workers around the world and to their patients to make sure we are at our very best. The fact is that we can't do what we do without being together at the absolute highest level," he said.

Hundreds of employees have raised objections to the return plan through employee surveys and email. "We are not taking this lightly. We will [return] in a very mindful and careful way and make sure that it's safe," he said.

CEO Judy Faulkner said in a recent email to employees that the company is having nationally recognized experts review the company's plans and will make adjustments as necessary. Twenty-four Epic staff have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, but Ms. Faulkner said they did not contract the virus from being on the Epic campus.

On Aug. 3, Epic released a video on YouTube outlining the safety measures and new protocols for returning to campus. The video is hosted by Anna Green, a member of the Epic events team.

Here are a few of the steps outlined in the video.

1. Epic installed private offices.

2. The company enhanced its heating infiltration systems.

3. Offices receive 4-12 air changes per hour with the HVAC system.

4. The cafeteria is now takeout only.

5. Staff will need to bring silverware from home.

6. Staff can view the menu online from their offices and pick up food from the building where they work.

7. There are traffic flow signs in the cafeteria.

8. Staff can pay for food online after picking it up.

9. The cleaning team increased the frequency of disinfecting common areas and high touch surfaces.

10. Masks are required any time employees are not in their offices with the doors closed, but employees can take off their masks to present in meetings.

11. Employees can use outdoor areas for meetings, including an outdoor amphitheater.

12. Immunocompromised people can place a sign outside of their office to make everyone aware of their condition.

"We're at our best when that energy and creativity is flowing and being at our best is important because the health of millions of people, whether they know it or not, relies on us doing our best work always, but especially now," said Ms. Green.

More articles on EHRs:
VA awards Cerner potential $94M support order for 3rd wave of EHR deployment
Arizona hospital deploys Meditech EHR
R1 completes acquisition of Cerner's RCM business: 3 things to know


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