Josh Ficek, recognized for his unique blend of medical and tech expertise, received Asante's 2023 Values in Action Award. His contributions, especially in streamlining care processes and his supportive presence during critical situations, significantly enhance patient care and inspire his colleagues.
We’ve all been there. A technical problem brings operations to a halt and panic sets in. When a savior arrives with a smile and a solution, our first response is relief. Our second is gratitude.
And so it is with frontline staff who work with Josh Ficek, an inpatient Epic analyst whose earlier years at the bedside gave him a deep understanding of both patient care and the technology used to keep them safe. Seven people nominated Josh for the 2023 Annual Values in Action Award, Asante’s most prestigious honor.
Ficek began his career as a CNA, a job that often required him to serve as a sitter for high-risk patients in the hospital — an experience that would influence his role on the IT side.
“He genuinely understood what patients were experiencing amid the unknown — the novel, the confusion, frustration, loneliness, fear, sickness, death and loss,” said Erin Brender, MD, a hospitalist with Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. “Now in his role as an Epic analyst, Josh’s uncanny empathy for others was what we all needed these past few years during the COVID pandemic and now as we face the opioid epidemic in our community.”
This combination of technical and medical skills has resulted in tangible benefits to Asante’s patients. He helped build the opioid treatment order sets in Epic and created a way to automatically dispense Narcan, which reverses opioid overdoses, to patients admitted with opioid use disorder. These caught the attention of an addiction medicine specialist from OHSU, who marveled at the order sets, and hospitals across the country asking how to incorporate Josh’s workflows into their electronic medical records systems.
Apart from Ficek’s innovations, his co-workers simply appreciate his support in difficult circumstances, from the chaotic early days of the pandemic to the tech snags in everyday patient care.
“A while ago, I was on call for the inpatient team and received a critical [incident alert] that woke me around 11 p.m.,” said fellow Epic analyst Andrea Mebane. “With my brain still in dreamland, I tried to make sense of what the incident was about when I received a text from Josh. He told me exactly what he thought the problem might be because he had been doing this for so long. I opened Epic, and sure enough, it was exactly as Josh had said. I was able to help the nurse quickly and get back to bed, thanks to Josh’s help.
Perhaps most of all, his co-workers are grateful for Ficek’s unflappable demeanor even in the most trying situations and his generous spirit.
“Everyone, from time to time expresses our exacerbation, except Josh,” said principal Epic trainer Dee Perez. “He is always the calm in the storm.”
Mebane recalls one thing about Ficek that has stayed with her. “On my first day of work, he and another co-worker created an amazing poster that welcomed me to the Epic Center team. This gesture went beyond the ordinary and left an indelible mark on my sense of belonging.”
In accepting his award, Ficek said, “I realize we have a really great company here. Everybody is striving for the same thing, and that’s to make Asante the best it can be.”
In gratitude for his contributions to Asante’s Values, Ficek was given a special Annual VIA badge backer, a $150 gift card and personalized crystal award.