by Lisa A. Eramo, MA
(Adapted with permission: For The Record Vol. 30 No. 9 P. 22)
An EHR conversion or implementation is a large undertaking. Consider these strategies to ensure success.
Think of Training as a Work in Progress
According to Jeannine M. Arnold, RN, solution director at CTG Healthcare Solutions, one of the biggest mistakes organizations make is they develop a training program but don’t stay flexible. As employees “test drive” the system, organizations must be willing to adapt and make changes to their training program. For example, if superusers say a particular training video isn’t helpful, perhaps the organization can develop a new video or webinar to cover the same material. Organizations need to leave enough time in their EHR rollout to accommodate for these lessons learned, Arnold says.
Zack Tisch, PMP, consulting services executive at Pivot Point Consulting agrees. “Think of training as continuous improvement. You constantly need to give people tools and techniques to help them do their work more efficiently,” he says, adding that even after a formal training period has ended, organizations should continue to keep employees engaged in the form of bulletins and quick tips about the EHR’s features based on feedback about the system.
Large organizations usually have more defined roles, which may make training more straightforward, says Becky Manne, vice president of training and activation at Optimum Healthcare IT. “With small organizations, individuals wear many hats,” she says. “From a trainer’s perspective, you need to be very aware of making sure you cover all of these hats.”
However, large organizations have more users who require training. The challenge is that if it takes several months to get everyone through training, those who were trained first may not retain some of the information if they don’t actively use it, says Craig Owen, interim CIO at MD Anderson, who oversaw training for approximately 15,000 users at MD Anderson. To combat this, large organizations may need additional trainers to train all users closer to the go-live date or provide refresher training on an ongoing basis, he says.
Tie It Back to Patient Care
EHR training needs to feel like patient care training, not system training. “Make it about the patients and less about the technology itself,” says Tisch.
Manne agrees, adding that employees should feel confident when they use the EHR. Confidence translates to greater efficiency, which translates to an improved patient experience, she says.
Regardless of the specifics, experts agree that training is a critical aspect of a successful EHR rollout. “Training is a thankless job. If the go-live goes well, then it’s because of great build. That’s true, but it’s also because of great build that was then trained,” Manne says.
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