January 8, 2021

Be Your Own Report Writer


As the world moves on from one of the most challenging years ever in healthcare, many organizations and leaders are beginning to plan what comes next.

If you are looking for a concrete idea on how to re-direct your organization and revenue cycle priorities or are interested in developing a more fundamental understanding of your business to better inform decision making, you have come to the right place. As the title suggests, the answer is to become your own report writer.

The last sentence can be intimidating for many people. I should clarify you do not need to write SQL code or even be an Epic super user to be your own report writer. What you really need is a better understanding on the data structure that Epic is built on. With this knowledge, you will be empowered to create your own (meaningful) reports in Epic as well as be able to clearly articulate operational business requests and needs to the Business Intelligence (BI) and other technical teams. Streamlining the report request process between the users that understand HOW to access the data and the users that understand WHAT the data means is the end goal.

Below are the steps to becoming your own report writer.

  1. Become acquainted with the relationship between a Master file, Record, and Item.

    • Master files (INI) hold information about a particular type of data. For example, the Payor master file contains all the information about the insurance companies with whom your organization works. The abbreviation is EPM (for Epic Payor Master).
    • Records hold information about a particular data entity. Each record has a unique identification number. For example, Aetna’s record in the payor master file could be number 101. This record holds information specific to the Aetna insurance company.
    • Items store discrete pieces of information about a record. Each item has a unique identification number within a master file. The information stored in each item is called a value. Within Aetna’s record, item number 700 is Financial Class; a possible value for that item is “commercial”.
  2. Learn how to find information in Epic.

      • To see the master file and item number used to store a value in Hyperspace, CTRL+CLICK on a field.
      • Record Viewer is your friend. Here is an overview of how it works (you need Epic UserWeb Access to view)
      • Start exploring how certain master files link to other master files via items in a record.
  1. Use the information to refine and articulate what reporting analysis needs to be performed.

    • Hyperspace Reporting:
      • Create more meaningful reports in Epic as all report functionality is based on Master file items.
      • Here is how to create a custom report in Epic by adding unique data parameters (you need Epic UserWeb Access to view)
    • External Reporting:
      • Stop wasting valuable time over communicating business needs to a reporting team.
      • Use your knowledge of the business and data to critically think about what analysis might be meaningful
      • More closely align business goals with BI objectives

While there is much more that can be done to become a competent report writer (or communicator) these first few steps will give you a solid foundation. As you gain a better understanding of the Epic data structure, you will begin to see reporting possibilities and insights that you were previously unaware existed. With great reporting power, comes great business insights.

Please reach out to us at The Wilshire Group if you are interested in understanding more about Epic reporting or if you would like to learn about one of our product offerings designed to kick start the above recommendation.


Senior Strategic Advisor

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