Outpatient Pharmacy Technology Updates Project (OPT UP)

In April 2025, Michigan Medicine Outpatient Pharmacies and Research Pharmacy will transition to the MiChart integrated outpatient pharmacy module and inventory system called Willow Ambulatory (WAM). 

Currently outpatient pharmacy staff work through the pharmacy system called QS/1 and MiChart to perform their job functions. Research Pharmacy operates using a paper process and manual entry into a stand-alone system. Updating the pharmacies to Willow Ambulatory will improve workflows in an integrated system. 

What's new! Project updates (click on each to expand content)

Pharmacy - June 2024

A significant amount of technical work is taking place now through December 2024. The project team is preparing backend systems for the change, assessing impacts to workflows, and engaging clinicians and staff for feedback.

Important dates:

2024 

  • April 22 - June 14: Prework for Pharmacy Operations Work Group for technical build 
  • June 18 - 20: Epic onsite for Pharmacy walkthroughs. **Schedule to be shared by June 7** 
  • June 14 - July 19:Technical build and validation. **If needed, build to continue in August. ** 
  • October: Technical testing begins  

2025 

  • February-March: Technical Dress Rehearsal 
  • March – April: Super User and End User Training 
  • Go Live: April 27 

Pharmacy Workgroup Meeting Cadence: 

  • Community & Specialty: Wednesdays at 8 a.m. 
  • Research: Tuesdays at 10 a.m. 
  • Inventory: Bi-weekly meeting series starting on June 3 at about noon.   
  • Pharmacy Operations Workgroup: Wednesdays at 11 a.m. 

Research Pharmacy - June 2024

A significant amount of technical work is taking place now through December 2024. The project team is preparing backend systems for the change, assessing impacts to workflows, and engaging clinicians and staff for feedback.

Important dates:

2024 

  • April 22 - June 14: Prework for Pharmacy Operations Work Group for technical build 
  • June 18 - 20: Epic onsite for Pharmacy walkthroughs. **Schedule to be shared by June 7** 
  • June 14 - July 19:Technical build and validation. **If needed, build to continue in August. ** 
  • October: Technical testing begins  

2025 

  • February-March: Technical Dress Rehearsal 
  • March – April: Super User and End User Training 
  • Go Live: April 27 

 

Watch these videos for a preview

Requires login to view. At this time, eLearning credit will not be issued for viewing videos. 

Benefits of Willow Ambulatory

Pharmacy:

  • A single, integrated patient medication list in the health-system electronic medical record.
  • Streamlined Pharmacy workflow.  Pharmacy staff will no longer need to enter prescription information into a standalone pharmacy system.
  • Real time feedback in MiChart on the status of prescriptions dispensed by Michigan Medicine pharmacies.
  • Improve pharmacy workflows by offering a more intuitive pharmacy workflow system.
  • Patient-driven prescription refill request functionality via the patient portal.

Research Pharmacy:

  • Alignment of prescription ordering with standard clinical practice of electronic prescribing (e-Rx) to decrease prescribing error and improve regulatory compliance.
  • Visibility of all prescribed medications both (investigational and commercial) for providers when updating medication lists.
  • Elimination of duplicative efforts when both paper order forms and electronic prescriptions (e-Rxs) are needed for a study.

Key Dates

This project will go-live in alignment with the MiChart Spring 2025 upgrade. 

FAQ

What is the Willow Ambulatory Module (WAM)?

Willow Ambulatory (WAM) is the MiChart outpatient pharmacy dispensing and inventory module.

What is in scope for this project?

This project will be implementing the integrated outpatient pharmacy module and inventory system within MiChart.

The scope of this project includes the following Michigan Medicine outpatient pharmacies:​

  • Specialty and Home Delivery Pharmacy ​
  • Taubman Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
  • East Ann Arbor Pharmacy ​
  • Cancer Center Pharmacy ​
  • Kellogg Eye Center Pharmacy​
  • Brighton Center for Specialty Care Pharmacy​
  • Research Pharmacy

 

What is out of scope for this project?

  • University Health Service (UHS) Pharmacy
  • Affiliated Organizations (Sparrow, UMH West)​
  • Compass Rose​

Can pharmacy staff customize Willow Ambulatory work queues?

Work queues are lists of patients grouped by common tasks and accessible from the Willow Ambulatory homepage. Custom work queues can be configured by the Willow Ambulatory application coordinators and assigned to specific profiles. Front-line staff can also make modifications to their work queues and save certain work queues as favorites. 

Can Pharmacy staff access Willow Ambulatory within Hyperspace?

Pharmacy front-line staff will primarily access Willow Ambulatory in a separate client (icon) on the workstation [outside of MiChart]. Some Willow Inventory functionality and Reports will need to be accessed through MiChart (Epic) Hyperspace. 

Will Willow Ambulatory have Slicer Dicer?

Slicer dicer will be available in Hyperspace.

Will there be set meetings for ambulatory workflows?

Once we begin evaluating a workflow and build decisions, we will involve the MiChart Ambulatory team, operations and clinical staff in those discussions.

Will Nursing Informatics be included in the ambulatory workflow discussions?

Yes, and Nursing Informatics will also be included in the Change Management workgroup, which will discuss impact analysis to the operational areas and review future state workflows. 

How will QS/1 changes be addressed during the freeze period for the next year?

If it's a break fix, and your system isn't functional, the HITS Med Use team will correct the issue to ensure that it remains operational. If it's an enhancement or a change to the QS/1 system functionality, it will be presented to the OPT UP Steering Committee for approval. 

What will pharmacy staff access look like post go-live?

A preliminary evaluation of current pharmacy staff access has been completed. Evaluation will continue throughout the technical build. More information about what is accessible through clinical security updates will be communicated during the training that users will receive just prior to go live.

What about third party vendors?

Third party vendors are included for evaluation for this project. 

What are the changes for e-prescribers?

E-prescribing will remain the same but with improved workflow. 

Training and Resources

Coming in March 2025!

OPT UP Steering Committee

Click to expand listing

Jennifer Baldridge, Pharmacy Manager, Community Pharmacy Services​

Brandon Bush, Applications System Analyst/Programmer Senior ​

Lindsey Clark, Asst Director Community Pharmacy Services/Transitions of Care  ​

Ashley Deford, Business System Analyst, Willow Ambulatory​

Cindy Gillespie, Pharmacy Contracting Manager​

Brandon Harkonen, Assistant Director Specialty Pharmacy Services​

Dr. Robert Heizelman, Program Director, Family Medicine & ACMIO​

Barb Higgins, Pharmacy Director - Automation and Emergency Services ​

James Hoff, Epic Implementation Director​

Seema Jetli, Pharmacy Operations Project Manager​

Elizabeth Johnson, Senior Director Clinical and Revenue Cycle IT​

Lindsey Kelley, Associate Chief Pharmacy Officer​

Stan Kent, Chief Pharmacy Officer, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs ​

Merry Lanzen, CRC IT Program Manager​

Kim Le, Business System Analyst, Willow Ambulatory​

Janine Lee, Pharmacy 340B Program Manager​

Jenn Leja, HITS Pharmacy IT Assistant Director​

Noah Leja, Assistant Director of Pharmacy Supply Chain​

Julia Pasco, Pharmacy Quality Improvement Specialist​

Jennifer Pietras, Senior IT Project Manager – HITS OCIO PMO​

Steve Ramsey, CRC Director of Departmental Applications ​

Kim Redic, Research Pharmacy Director / Project Manager​

Tami Samborski: MM Revenue Cycle Director​

Kelly Wallen, HITS IT Project Manager

Questions or need more information?

Please reach out to us: