I am a PGY1 trained and BCPS certified recent graduate and am currently in a rotating clinical position in a hospital setting. My hospital is getting ready to switch to Epic, and the department will be sending some staff members to be Epic certified for the rollout.
I have read through your posts and Q&A and have found it very informative. I had one question that I don’t think was touched upon.
I do not have any formal IT training (coding languages etc.) I am, however, relatively computer proficient (build computers, software setup, general use) and am able to pick up new things easy. Do you think that not having any formal IT training will preclude me from being able to make the most of Epic certification and transitioning to consulting? Or is the training and on-the-job learning enough?
Thanks for any help or insight, apologies if this was brought up and I missed it
Thanks for your question.
Not having any formal IT training in any coding languages does NOT preclude you from being able to make the most of most Epic certifications. I stress the word “most” because if you are solely focusing on getting certified in any of the Willow applications i.e. Willow Inpatient, Willow Ambulatory, and/or Willow Inventory (you must first be certified in either Willow Inpatient or Ambulatory in order to qualify for Willow Inventory certification, by the way), then you do not need any formal coding experience. The same goes for the Beacon application (that’s the oncology module and the other application that has a pharmacy component to it).
Now, having said that… If you decide you want to broaden your Epic certification and become what is referred to as the Application Reporting Lead (ARL), this is the point person for each Epic application that is also responsible for creating reports for the end-users of their application. So for example, if you’re the ARL for Willow, you’d also be responsible for creating reports that the pharmacy managers can use to assess compliance with regulatory standards or reports to help gauge where money is being spent and if the returns are up to what the organization desires. You’d also be creating reports that the pharmacy technicians can run to find which meds have not been picked up within a given period of time in an outpatient pharmacy so that they can be returned to stock.
The ARL goes through an additional certification to learn how to create these and a plethora of other reports and here is where knowing certain other coding languages, particularly something like SQL and other database languages will come in extremely helpful. The certification process for the reporting module does include a cursory course in coding but having an in-depth knowledge beforehand will certainly give you a leg up.
So to summarize the answer to your question… If you are only interested in strictly being a pharmacist analyst with certification in just a Willow or Beacon application, then no, you don’t need to know any coding. The Epic certification itself as well as hands-on training you’ll get, especially if you are part of the initial implementation team when your organization switches over to Epic will be quite enough to get you up and running and get you to an eventual point of full proficiency.
However, if you anticipate that you’d like to take on more responsibilities (and possibly more pay because you’ll have the additional value to add) by becoming the Application Reporting Lead, then yes, it would not hurt, and might even behoove you to study a coding language, and I would recommend that you start with SQL.
Then in the long run, having a PharmD as well as both the certification in a pharmacy module and the reporting module will set you farther apart from the crowd (it’s getting a lot more competitive these days), give you more bargaining power when it comes to consulting work and put you in a higher income bracket than others without this trifecta.
It’s very doable, and I wish you the best!