We can often take our computer skills for granted. Not everyone is fortunate enough to learn basic computer skills and that can impact efficiency in a modern medical office. As an electronic health records (EHR) trainer, I have experienced the difficulty of training nurses and medical assistants on an EHR/EMR system. The transition is difficult for some to understand, and sometimes the nurses do not see the value the EHR can bring to a medical practice. I understand that nurses focus primarily on patient care as well as making sure the patient is ready to be seen by the provider. When a practice is moving from paper records to an EMR, the nursing staff is often skeptical of the benefits that will result. Here are a few things to help ease the transition process from paper medical records to an EMR for the nursing staff.
Fear of Job Security
An EHR will never elimiate the need for nurses. Be sure to discuss their role and how it will not be replaced by the EMR. Instead, explain how the transition to an EMR will make their job easier so they can focus more on providing excellent patient care.
Provide the staff with early education
The earlier they have the ability to see the software, the more likely they will show interest in using it. Introduce the staff to the software early on in the process and give them enough time to become familiar with it. Do not lose sight of the end goal which should be to encourage your entire staff to embrace and promote the use of the EMR every day. EMR companies are great for offering videos based on job duty. Create ‘lunch and learn’ sessions where the staff brings in their lunch and watch the videos together. Be prepared to discuss the positive impact the EMR will have on the practice and the patients.
Reassure the staff to build confidence
Everyone will learn at a different pace and need support in different ways. Remind them the information they are gathering on the EMR is the same as they were doing on paper. Explain that it is only a different way of recording the information to improve patient care and practice efficiency.
Let them know how the EMR will safeguard patient records
No more losing time over lost paper charts. Now, everything can be tracked in the medical record. Remind the staff how vital this is not only for HIPAA, but also to reassure the patients their information is safe and secure. Do not forget to mention the advantages of the patient portal to the patients now that their health records will be electronic.
Training should never stop
As updates become available in the software, take the time and look at new features and work with staff and providers to get them working for your office. Most often, updates make things easier. Start a group at work and get everyone who would like to participate involved in staying current on the updates in the software. This group would take time to look at updated features and learn how the new features can improve the current workflow and processes for the organization. Dedicate time to prepare the staff on these new features. This not only builds community at your organization, but also builds strong working relationships with your staff.
Written by: Nicole Benz, EHR Resource Manager at GroupOne Health Source and certified eClinicalWorks EHR trainer. Nicole has helped hundreds of practices successfully complete the transition to an EHR through process improvement and proper use of healthcare information technology.
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