Inova Health System Relies on CTG for Epic Clinical Service Desk Solution

Our Client

Inova Health System (Inova) is a not-for-profit healthcare system based in Northern Virginia that serves more than two million people each year. Ranked in the top 10 of the nation’s 100 most integrated health systems, Inova’s comprehensive network of hospitals, with more than 1,700 licensed beds, includes an academic medical center, a children’s hospital, and a major transplant center, as well as physician practices, ambulatory, and home health facilities. More than 3,400 physicians and 16,000 employees work together to fulfill Inova’s mission of improving the health of the diverse community it serves through excellence in patient care, education, and research.

Challenges and Objectives

Inova implemented the full Epic application suite—Ambulatory, Inpatient, Clinical, Revenue Cycle, and Patient Access—with multiple go-lives beginning in April 2012. Shortly after go-live at their largest (1,200-bed) facility, Inova was faced with numerous competing IT support needs: 

  • Supporting the live Epic sites while simultaneously maintaining Inova’s aggressive rollout schedule to remaining hospitals and ambulatory sites; 
  • IT support for new organizations added to the enterprise through provider service agreements and joint ventures; 
  • Managing enterprise efforts to transition to ICD-10; and 
  • Continued staffing of the Command Center during large go-lives. 

The lightly-staffed helpdesk at Inova was further challenged to keep up with an increased call volume (up 25 percent) and issue reporting via multiple channels including email, web, and walk-ins. Often calls were getting passed on directly to the Epic applications team with limited knowledge capture, resulting in repeat helpdesk staff orientations. With a four-minute average wait time for calls to be answered and a high number of abandoned calls, user satisfaction ratings were suffering. It was evident to the Inova leadership that collaboration with a trusted partner organization for an end-to-end Tier 1 and 2 helpdesk solution would help them strategically and cost effectively manage ongoing support of the organization’s live sites, as well as augment the Command Center teams during go-lives.

CTG’s Solution

Inova partnered with CTG to address its post-Epic implementation helpdesk and application management and support needs for the hospitals and ambulatory sites live on Epic, and to augment the Command Center staffing during go-lives. 

CTG conducted a comprehensive assessment—including a review of Inova’s current helpdesk environment—to identify challenges, organizational impacts, and opportunities for improvement. CTG then implemented a tiered Epic service center solution for Inova, providing resources for both Tier 1 helpdesk and Tier 2 Epic production application support. Staffed by CTG resources, Inova’s Tier 1 helpdesk became the first-call response for all Epic calls, and provided ticket tracking and triage resolution of routine/recurring issues related to Epic modules—such as “how to,” access, print, navigation, etc.—and escalation of other Epic system/build/optimization-related issues in the production environment to the Tier 2 team. 

CTG’s experienced Tier 2 Epic application support consultant team provided 24/7 issue resolution and production application support for specified Epic modules in an off-site consulting model, handling change management requests, providing project support, and completing Epic optimization build for selected production modules, as requested by Inova. The team also supported and completed other ongoing tasks above and beyond production support tickets, such as working on weekly error queues. In addition to augmenting Inova’s Epic related on-call coverage, CTG’s Tier 2 support team also provided much-needed Command Center coverage during additional go-lives. Team members worked 8–12 hour shifts over a two-week period. Tier 2 team members not required to be on-site in the Command Center provided ticket and issue resolution coverage.


As part of CTG’s tiered Epic helpdesk solution, the Tier 1 helpdesk team helped overcome multiple challenges related to call response time/abandonment rate, issue resolution, knowledge capture, and documentation standardization. Of notable mention are the following performance metrics:

  • Average speed to answer calls remains around 20 seconds;
  • Time to resolve calls averaged around five minutes;
  • Issue resolution received on first call averaged 95 percent for in-scope projects and 61 percent for all incidents for 2015;
  • Additional service and user type (patients) added in December 2013—MyChart and Epic Patient Portal—resolution averages were 98 percent for 2015; 
  • Abandoned call percentage with threshold of less than 30 averaged 4 percent for 2015; and
  • Volume of answered calls for 2015 was over 75,000, representing an increase of 18,000 from 2014 with no additional staff or fees incurred.

CTG’s Tier 2 Epic application support team enabled Inova to provide timely Epic production system issue resolution, application management, and support for identified applications. CTG’s Tier 2 support team’s issue resolution rate, calculated over the life of the engagement, had improved to 97 percent as of January 2014, and a very small percent of unresolved tickets are being escalated to Tier 3 support. The addition of CTG’s Tier 2 application support team seamlessly integrated with Inova’s internal Epic staff. This additional support enabled Inova to meet its implementation and rollout commitments on time, allowed their internal resources to address net new Epic build requirements and day-to-day tasks, and alleviated considerable go-live overtime costs. CTG’s remote support model also saved Inova the costs traditionally associated with outside/traveling consultants. CTG quickly gained the trust and respect of Inova’s internal Epic teams and end users with reliable, timely critical ticket/issue resolution and ongoing communication, as well as a seamless knowledge transfer process that enabled Inova resources to focus on the build unique to their organization. CTG continues to provide top-notch Tier 1 Epic help desk and Tier 2 Epic production application management and support to Inova Health System, offering the flexibility to adjust the size of CTG’s support teams to cost effectively meet Inova Health System’s ongoing application management and support needs.