Friday, September 14, 2018

Communications Barriers Project Managers Should Avoid

Julie Van Puffelen formerly served with Epic as a nurse and project manager. An accomplished project leader and innovator, Julie Van Puffelen understands that keen communication skills are essential to effectively see a project to completion.

The majority of the time a project manager spends on a project is spent communicating, and poor communication can slow the delivery of the final product. Many organizations develop obstacles to good communication, however, which must be addressed by the project manager to ensure team effectiveness.

Political obstacles usually originate from the upper ranks, above the levels at which projects are planned. Project managers need to know who above them, such as senior-level managers, might hold a stake in the project that is not readily obvious. Managers then need to take action to get them to support the project.

Organizational culture can also present challenges. Some companies have cultures of more frequent or less frequent communication, and when multiple departments or multiple companies enter the equation, cultural differences can slow a project down. Project managers need to be aware of how each stakeholder operates, and communicate in ways each group will understand.

A final, similar issue enters in when groups which use significantly different terminology must work together on a project. Different disciplines may use the same terms differently, or be unfamiliar with the other's jargon, leading to incorrect or incomplete communication. Project managers must get all participants in a project on the same linguistic page as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Change Management In Electronic Health Records System Transitions

Over her 13-year career, seasoned project manager Julie Van Puffelen has held numerous positions in the Implementation Services Division of healthcare software company Epic Systems. In her role as an executive nurse liaison, Julie Van Puffelen has assisted C-suite executives at over 30 hospitals in navigating the change management process.

Change management is a key component in successfully implementing an electronic health records (EHR) system, either for the first time or in an upgrade. Organizations should prepare staff, patients, and all end-users well in advance, and workflows should be evaluated for optimization and incorporation into the EHR system.

System changes take time to learn and can temporarily impact how staff members perform their duties. To ease the transition, some healthcare providers may implement readiness programs by department or unit, and appoint a leader from each group to take charge of the change management process. It is also important to consider how the EHR system change will impact the staff members who do not work directly with the system, such as those working overnight, and address these changes directly.

As EHR software is constantly upgraded, improved, and adapted to better meet the needs of healthcare providers and their patients, organizations should instill a culture of continuous learning by promoting ongoing change as a sign of progress and success.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ochsner Health System Uses Epic to Treat Patients More Effectively

Most recently working as the project manager for healthcare software provider Epic, Julie Van Puffelen facilitated the management of clinical cases for healthcare organizations and more than 100 hospitals around the country. As the primary project manager, Julie Van Puffelen achieved outstanding records of on-time and under-budget task completions.

The Epic website recently posted about the software’s machine learning platform, which now helps physicians predict and prevent adverse effects such as cardiac arrest. Implemented by Ochsner Health System in February, the platform’s ability to calculate risks of patient deterioration can be enhanced through optional integration with cloud computing service Microsoft Azure.

Ochsner is one of the first health systems in the United States to use artificial intelligence technology to anticipate and detect potential adverse health events in patients.

By analyzing data from medical charts, the Epic software can look into the patient’s current medications and medical history and more quickly and accurately assess potentially unfavorable patient outcomes. In case of situations that require urgent attention, early warning alerts will then be sent to the doctor’s mobile device.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Nurse Leaders Emerge in a Number of Health Care Areas

With 13 years of experience as a project leader and innovator working with the health care administration system Epic, Julie Van Puffelen builds on her extensive experience as a clinical nurse. Julie Van Puffelen maintains a strong interest in industry trends impacting nursing and the health care sector. 

As described by the head of the National League for Nursing, 2018 is a year in which nurses are increasingly coming to the fore in leadership capacities. These formal and informal opportunities extend across the care continuum and include areas such as academic and population health settings.

Nurse leaders are working to forge partnerships spanning areas outside of traditional health care. These range from neighborhood programs that ensure low-income residents’ access to healthy food to wellness centers that provide seniors with support in aging comfortably in place. 

Another aspect of the rapidly evolving health care landscape involves the mentoring role that baby-boomer nurses are taking as they look toward retirement. The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action encompasses a nine month mentorship program and pairs young nurses with veteran professionals with skills in their particular area of interest.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

About the Safe Use of Prescription Medications

As a project manager with Epic Systems in Wisconsin, Julie Van Puffelen handled many issues in hospital administration. One of Julie Van Puffelen’s areas of experience is patient safety when it comes to the use of prescription medicines.

Many persons are involved in patient safety - perhaps most importantly, the patients themselves. Here are some suggestions for patients when they drop off and pick up prescription medications.

Providing complete information to your pharmacist is vital to the safe use of medications. Inform the pharmacist of every medicine you currently take, including vitamins and herbal supplements, in order to detect possible interactions. 

Learn how many refills are available and be sure you have enough to last until your next visit. Refills are only valid for one year. To avoid running out, call in refills at least one day in advance.

Pay attention when picking up medications. Make sure the name on the label matches your doctor’s instructions and prescribed dosage. Open the bottle and verify the name and dosage on the tablet. If the tablets are blank, ask the pharmacist to show you the bottle that originally contained them, and remember what they look like. If you are given a liquid, learn to identify it by smell.

Take extra care with pediatric medicines. To prevent a dosage error, be sure to inform doctors and pharmacists of your child’s weight.

Communication with your doctor is essential. Be certain that you and your treatment team are on the same page regarding dosages, potential side effects and what to do about them, and what your medications are expected to accomplish.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Master’s Certificate in Project Management at UW-Madison

After 13 years as a nurse and administrator at Epic Systems, Julie Van Puffelen is continuing her education. Julie Van Puffelen is pursuing a Master’s Certificate in Project Management (MCPM) at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Intended for project managers, team members, and persons involved in process improvement, the MCPM program teaches relevant and immediately applicable skills. It is designed to enhance critical negotiation and communication strategies.

Presented as all-day, in-person classes, the courses present practical knowledge from teachers with extensive industry experience. The curriculum includes five basic courses on such topics as planning, risk management, and exercising influence without direct authority.

Participants take one elective in subjects ranging from Lean Six Sigma to agile project management. A capstone project sums up the learner’s experiences.

The MCPM program is offered by the UW-Madison Center for Professional and Executive Development. To accommodate the schedules of busy professionals, each course is available several times per year. For more information, visit

Communications Barriers Project Managers Should Avoid

Julie Van Puffelen formerly served with Epic as a nurse and project manager. An accomplished project leader and innovator, Julie Van Puff...