A revolution in patient care is coming to the WVU Medicine health system, and trust us -- it's going to be epic.

On Jan. 21, nearly 500 employees gathered remotely from every hospital in the system for the webcast kickoff of a system-wide project to better integrate patient care across all WVU Medicine hospitals and clinics. The goal of the project -- called the Butterfly Initiative -- is to transform patient care and quality, and push the system to realize its full potential as a fully integrated academic health system and a national leader in providing high-quality care.

The catalyst for this transformation is the roll-out of the latest version of the Epic Electronic Health Record to all WVU Medicine facilities. This will include upgrading sites currently using Epic to the latest version and transitioning sites currently using other systems to Epic by the end of 2017.

This year, teams from IT departments at all system locations will work closely with care providers to create streamlined workflows for every level of care. In 2017, training and the transition to Epic will begin, with the first sites going live with the new software as early as March.

At the kickoff, system leaders introduced the project by stressing that this is not an IT project, even though the IT department will be facilitating the change. The Butterfly Initiative is the biggest and most transformative project that the organization has ever undertaken, according to Dan Martich, M.D., chief medical officer and president of physician services for WVU Medicine.

“This initiative is about realizing our full potential and becoming who we are meant to become -- a fully integrated, academic health system that is a national leader in providing high-quality care,” said Dr. Martich.

Benefits of the Butterfly Initiative will include decreased variability in care from site to site across the system, fewer errors, enhanced evidence-based practice and greater consumer engagement.

“We chose a simple metaphor -- the butterfly -- to help convey a powerful word and idea: ‘transformation,’” Tony Condia, vice president of Marketing and Communications, said. “The symbol of the butterfly reflects that this initiative is much more than us just simply installing a new electronic health record. This will enable us to transform our patient care.”

An internal project website will be released as the project progresses. The site will include the names of transition leaders at each location and a forum for asking questions.