Back to Top Staff work to carefully ‘cutover’ patient information into Epic before big launch. - The Ottawa Hospital

Staff work to carefully ‘cutover’ patient information into Epic before big launch.


Hundreds of staff members worked for weeks to carefully transfer hundreds of thousands of pieces of patient information to the Epic system in a process called cutover.

When patients visited the hospital on June 1, it was a seemingly normal day. Appointments were held, meals delivered, and tests taken. But instead of the paper charts patients were accustomed to, staff used Epic, the hospital’s newly-launched digital health network.

Even though patients might not have noticed, the transition from legacy systems to Epic was no small feat.

“Cutover and the transition to Epic was truly a once in a generation experience.”

“Because we were implementing a new electronic medical health record, it was integral to patient safety that we made sure we moved all the information that existed in our legacy system into Epic before it went live on June 1,” said Kevin Peters, Director of Surgical Care.

This process, known as cutover, took place during the 22 days leading up to Epic’s launch. It involved nearly 1,000 staff members working tirelessly to transfer thousands of data sets into the new system.

Cutover officially began on May 12, with the conversion of more than 80,000 outpatient appointments. 

“We had teams of nurses, pharmacists and admitting clerks working from two screens: one displayed the legacy system, the other displayed Epic where they entered data,” said Peters. “Nurses had to go from room to room, chart to chart, taking out all the pertinent patient information and inputting it into the electronic system.”

Staff repeated the cutover process throughout every area of the hospital. They transferred everything from OR and surgical case appointments to diagnostic imaging. Through teamwork and an incredible amount of hard work, staff converted the data of 1,100 patients, 18,000 medication orders and more than 15,000 physician and nursing orders all into Epic for inpatient cases alone!

EPIC Cutover

To ensure cutover was completed successfully, its progress was monitored every few hours across the six health organizations adopting Epic on June 1. As information was entered, electronic systems confirmed that the information was properly entered, and nothing was missed.

“But cutover’s success was truly validated when nurses and physicians logged into Epic for the first time,” said Peters.

“On June 1, nurses and doctors were able to log in to our new system and have all the information they needed to continue the course of care,” said Peters. “Cutover is how we made sure this transition was seamless to patients. They shouldn’t have even realized anything changed.”

This amazing achievement can be credited to the hospital staff who came together, working day, evening and night to transfer patients’ information into Epic, upholding patient safety and ultimately bringing in a new era of care.

“It was remarkable to see administrators, directors and senior team members stepping up to the plate, coming together and recognizing the importance of doing this well,” said Peters. “Cutover and the transition to Epic was truly a once in a generation experience.”


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