Medical staff are sometimes resistant to begin using EHRs, especially when changing from a paper system for the first time, due to a belief that the switch will waste time and interrupt their workflow. And when medical staff aren’t properly trained in the use of EHR software, this can actually be the case.
In one study, nearly one out of five physicians reported wanting to return to paper charts, citing the new systems as an interference to the quality of patient care and their satisfaction at work. Although EHRs are meant to improve care coordination and efficiency, physicians sometimes paint a different picture in reporting their experience with them.
Electronic health records offer a wide range of proven benefits, even if not all medical staff agree that implementing an EHR has improved their practice. This doesn’t reflect an inherent flaw in EHRs, but instead signals that your staff is lacking the tools and resources to understand and effectively use the EHR before going live.
One of the most common oversights in EHR implementation is that medical staff aren’t adequately trained on use of the technology. In this post, I’ll cover some considerations in training before going live with your EHR that can also help your practice successfully achieve Meaningful Use.
Understanding your training needs
For some staff, the greatest obstacle for adoption will be a lack of general computer literacy. Your employees will need to be assessed on their computer skills, and provided basic computer training when those skills are lacking. Only then will your team be ready to understand how to use an EHR and better grasp the training provided by your vendor.
On the other hand, it can be counterintuitive to over-train employees on each and every function of an EHR if they’re only expected to perform a few basic tasks. This can slow down implementation and affect staffs’ ability to retain necessary information. Instead, each member of your team should receive customized training based on their daily responsibilities.
Separate your team into different groups, such as front desk staff, IT support, billing team, clinical providers, and so forth, and deliver training they’ll need to success in these roles. This approach to training is called role-based training, and it will best enable your staff to figure out how EHRs will specifically impact their workflow.
During training, you’ll also learn who among your team has the strongest technical skillsets. One of the most effective methods for training an organization is to identify these staff members, known as super users, and create a group for them to share their expertise across the team. These individuals can offer valuable peer support to others.
Since training should be seen as an ongoing activity, support from the super users will be useful in facilitating EHR adoption and workflow improvements long after launch. For more information on the training materials available for successful health IT system implementation, check out HRSA’s website here.
Implementing Electronic Health Records (EHRs) – An Infographic
With these tips for training in mind, it is crucial to consider other steps that healthcare organizations must take in order to achieve Meaningful Use of their EHR.
In the infographic below, created by The Ohio University MHA Program, you’ll find the nine steps for successful EHR implementation as recommended by the Health Resources and Services Administration:
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