Physician Builder Program

The Department of Medicine’s Physician Builder program is comprised of clinicians who have received special training to build and update tools within eStar.

We are part of VUMC’s eStar Physician Builder Program, which ranks No. 2 in size and No. 1 in per-provider participation of all Epic physician builder programs.

We believe that the more deeply integrated clinicians are into customizing and innovating in eStar, the happier end users will be. We’re committed to making eStar better, safer, and more enjoyable to use at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC)! 


DOM Physician Builder Program

eStar Idea Drive!

Submit your idea by February 29, 2024

Got an idea for something new/improved we could build in Epic?

What we know how to build: 

  • SmartPhrases, SmartTexts, SmartForms, SmartSets 
  • Synopsis reports 
  • Flowsheets 
  • Calculators 
  • Best practice advisories 
  • More

Submit a Build Request 

Department of Medicine faculty can submit their requests to build new tools and content in eStar.

To request a new build, please complete the REDCap here.

Request a Peer-to-Peer Provider Efficiency Session

We understand that the EHR can be very frustrating and lead to feelings of burnout. Our goal is to find ways to improve struggles related to Epic. We are offering peer-to-peer sessions with one of our physician builders here at Vanderbilt. These sessions can be conducted either in-person or remotely. We will show you some of the efficiency metrics specific to your use of Epic at VUMC. We will then find ways to help you accomplish tasks more easily and faster in Epic.

To request a session, fill out this quick survey, and we will reach out to you to set up a time. The purpose of the survey is to understand your specific struggles so that we can find ways to help. Participation is voluntary. This is a quality improvement project.

Apply to Become a Funded Physician Builder 

The program is recruiting technically-minded Department of Medicine clinicians who are passionate about improvement and innovation, and who want to be actively engaged in improving the delivery of care through eStar at VUMC. 

General responsibilities

  • Gain and maintain physician builder certification  
  • Meet with users, clinician champions and department executive leadership to identify areas of need 
  • Plan, design, and build eStar content for the department 
  • Develop content for general internal medicine and subspecialties of internal medicine, which may be outside one’s own subspecialty, collaborating with clinical experts, as necessary. This work may be assigned by the physician builder team. 
  • Work with quality and safety team to investigate and address safety issues 
  • Provide guidance and technical support for resident projects involving eStar 
  • Assist with prioritization of DOM eStar build 
  • Measure and report on process improvements 

Specific requirements for DOM physician builders

  1. Complete Epic Physician Builder certification within 3 months. Funding is available for first 3 months to complete training. After this, funding will pause until certification is complete. 
  2. Attend monthly DOM physician builder meetings (1 hr) 
  3. Present build project once annually to DOM physician builder group 
  4. Submit at least one new completed personal project and at least one new completed assigned project per year in end-of-year progress report prior to obtaining renewal for funding. 
  5. Complete annual DOM physician builder program survey 

For more information, please submit REDCap here.

Examples of Completed Builder Projects

Problem: Clinicians frequently need to calculate patients’ 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk; for example, to determine whether a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as a statin, is necessary. Previously, this was a time-consuming process that required chart review to retrieve patient data elements, as well as manual entry of values into an external medical calculator website. 

Solution: Builders developed a risk calculator that can be quickly pulled up using a dot phrase that automatically integrates patient information from the electronic health record so that this data does not need to be manually entered by clinicians. 

Problem: Clinicians caring for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) previously had to click in many different places to review and order relevant medications and place common orders (e.g., laboratory tests, endoscopy, imaging, immunizations and referrals) during a clinic visit. 

Solution: We developed an Express Lane for IBD clinic visits, which allows providers to easily access the most relevant medications and common orders from one screen, saving valuable time during the clinic visit.

Problem: Clinicians have access to a powerful review tool called Synopsis, which allows them to review and graph vital signs, lab results and medications. However, the existing Synopsis screens available in primary care were cluttered and not built for any specific use case. Meanwhile, clinicians regularly had to perform time-consuming chart review to retrieve key information for their patients with diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia.  

Solution: We custom-built a primary care synopsis tool that automatically retrieves vitals, lab results and relevant medications for patients with diabetes, hypertension and/or hyperlipidemia, allowing clinicians to visualize important data on one screen.

Problem: Clinicians caring for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) lacked an effective way to document the essential features of the joint exam.

The existing physical exam forms were built for trauma/orthopedics. Additionally, there was no way to record and track an RA activity score quickly. The score that was available in Epic required the data to be entered manually and was no longer considered the best RA metric.

Solution: A physician builder developed a new NoteWriter form to effectively and quickly document key features of the RA physical exam.

This form calculates the most widely accepted RA disease activity score, displays this score in the note, and is available for charting over time in Synopsis.

Problem: Inpatient clinicians rounding on patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) lacked a central place in Epic to gather information relevant to managing heart failure exacerbations.

Solution: In collaboration with resident physicians, a physician builder built a CHF accordion report or “tab” in Epic that displays fluid input and output, weight, and relevant labs and medications for patient with CHF.  

In follow up surveys, residents reported a significant decrease in the number of clicks necessary to determine diuretic response and greater satisfaction with how efficiently relevant data can be collected.