Transitioning to a new electronic health record (EHR) system can be daunting for medical practices. But by leveraging proper training, practices can avoid setbacks and implement a new EHR successfully.
Training helps mitigate the frustrations and errors that can accompany learning a new system. Software Advice, an online software selection assistance company, has put together five tips for training medical staff on a new EHR system.
1. Identify Employee Computer Skill Levels and Provide Training.
You’ll need to determine each employee’s current level of skill with computers. Consider using one of many online computer skills exams. If your skills assessment turns up employees in need of basic computer training, you’ll need to get them up to speed. You can pay for classes at a local community college if budget allows, or use a free online resource such as the Goodwill Community Foundation. Computer training can help make staff more comfortable, which helps overall readiness when the EHR arrives.
2. Pick a Tech-Savvy “Super User” (or Two).
Identify one or two tech-savvy employees who can learn the EHR system inside out, and serve as go-to contacts for others in the office who have questions. These “super users” should:
- Be highly computer literate;
- Be able to learn new technology quickly;
- Be willing to help others learn; and
- Have been with your organization for at least one year.
Make sure the “super users” aren’t employees who are already overloaded at work. Also consider offering an incentive, such as a small bonus or additional vacation days, to motivate skilled employees to take on this added responsibility.
3. Only Provide Training on Relevant Areas.
Many medical practices approach EHR implementation thinking that every employee needs to learn every feature of the EHR. In reality, this isn’t practical and can lead to frustration.Only the “super users” should know the system backwards and forwards. Training for other employees should center around only the features that person or group will be required to use on a daily basis. Don’t waste your time or that of your employees by training for features not relevant to their roles.
4. Conduct Feedback Sessions After Implementation.
Once the EHR is implemented, you’ll inevitably encounter a few snags. Ask your staff using the EHR for feedback so that you can quickly identify and solve problems. Consider scheduling weekly or bi-monthly meetings in the weeks following your go-live date. Make sure to include different members of your organization to better represent all types of users. Once problem areas are identified, prioritize them in order of importance so that you can tackle urgent issues first. For example, training a nurse to enter vitals correctly is more urgent than redesigning a certain process that takes longer with the EHR.
5. Use your EHR Vendor’s Online Resources.
If a question arises that your “super users” can’t answer, seek out educational materials provided by your vendor. Most vendors publish such resources online, accessible with a username and password they provide. Many EHR vendor websites are also tied to community forums, which can be valuable outlets for physicians to ask questions of other users.
Implementing a new EHR system is challenging for any practice, but by using these tips, your practice can eliminate many common setbacks, giving you more time to focus on what matters most: quality patient care.
Amanda Guerrero contributed this piece to Software Advice, a demand generation firm that helps medical practices find the right software for their business. Amanda is a writer and blogger specializing in EHR, patient portal technology and Meaningful Use. View the original post here: Five Best Practices for Training Staff on Using a New EHR
Image created by Walt Stoneburner.