Spotlight Series – May 2021


A Discussion with Lakin York:

Preparing to Integrate Beaker into your Healthcare Network System


Adjusting to an integrated lab environment, an Epic Beaker implementation takes a lot of intention to get it to work optimally for its end-users. With experience in the lab as a Medical Technologist and having worked directly with Epic’s developers to build seamless and safe workflows reflecting the complicated aspect of tissue and specimen collection, Lakin has a passion for improving and refining the work completed within the lab. Here she shares that passion, emphasizing accuracy and risk mitigation strategies to successfully integrate Beaker into health systems.

Q:  Why is a standardization strategy for Beaker across the health system so important?

A:  When reviewing test build and result ranges within Epic, every effort must be made to standardize as much as possible.  There will be some differences due to testing methodology or varying compendiums, but these should be kept to a minimum.  We must consider the patient in this scenario.  To put it simply: a BMP should be a BMP no matter which location in the network it is performed.  If reference ranges vary greatly from one lab to the next this can be very confusing to the physician who reviews the results.  This could result in a delay of care/treatment or even incorrect treatment.  Labs must learn to work together as a network and move away from the “silo” environment that likely existed before the implementation?

Q:  What do you need to consider in advance as it relates to Specimen Collection?

A:  One very important aspect of a Beaker implementation is to consider the setup you will put into place for specimen collection.  The background build will determine which instructions will be displayed to the end-user.  These instructions will tell the collector not only which type of tube to collect but also how many tubes of blood are needed.  Container sharing should also be thoroughly discussed and examined.  Allowing tests to share a container can reduce the amount of blood taken from the patient.  Without the correct build and considerations in place, this could result in A) too much blood being drawn from the patient or B) too little blood being drawn which could mean a repeat visit for the patient.  This is especially important in the pediatric setting when there are daily allowed limits that can be taken from the patient due to size and age.

Q:  What important aspects of a Beaker implementation pertain to Legacy System Data?

A:  Beaker implementations require large amounts of legacy data to properly translate existing information into the new Epic format.  It is very important to have up-to-date, accurate information in your legacy system prior to the start of an implementation.  This helps reduce potential errors such as incorrect build, duplicate build, and excessive or incorrect information.

Q:  How do you ensure a smooth billing implementation?

A:  Beaker is just a different “beast” when it comes to billing and finance-related issues.  Even today, teams are struggling to find the best way to collaborate with the billing team to complete a comprehensive and accurate build and testing plan.  One extremely helpful task, as in point #3 above, have your legacy billing system cleaned up prior to implementationRemoval of inactive CPT codes cuts down on the amount of work and research required to build the charge codes in Epic.  It is also very helpful to have a crosswalk of which charges are linked to which tests in your legacy system.  The project also needs a thorough understanding of the multiple scenarios in which charges can or should drop.  The charge testing phase of the implementation is crucial in preventing potential loss of revenue and ensuring proper billing practices.

With its intimate connection to the patient, impact on user satisfaction and intricate ties to hospital revenue, activating Beaker properly is of the utmost importance.  If you would like to connect with Lakin to gain more insight into successfully integrating Beaker into your organization, she may be reached at

Leave a Comment

Minimize costs while maximizing results.

Schedule a Meeting