Strategies for Successful EHR Adoption: 4 Strategies to Consider When Setting Up Training

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 4 issues to consider when setting up training.

Make Training Mandatory
EHR training is no different than training on a new device for a surgical procedure, says Zack Tisch, PMP, consulting services executive at Pivot Point Consulting. “If someone is going to use the system and provide patient care, they need to be trained,” he says.

Jeannine M. Arnold, RN, solution director at CTG Healthcare Solutions, agrees. “Some organizations say if you don’t have training, you don’t have access to the EHR at go-live and you won’t be able to take care of your patients,” she says.

Nonemployed physicians can be challenging because they sometimes resist training, Arnold says. To overcome this hurdle, she recommends placing every provider’s name on a big poster in the cafeteria. As providers attend EHR training, check off their names. This calls attention to those who don’t attend the training.

Some organizations make the decision to pay all nonemployed physicians to attend EHR training, Arnold adds.

One potential exception to the mandatory training rule are physicians who have already used the same EHR at another facility and who can demonstrate proficiency, Tisch says. Some organizations choose to allow these physicians to attend an abbreviated training that focuses solely on organization-specific workflows, he adds.

Look for Budget-Friendly, Efficient Options
In addition to classroom training, consider webinars, e-learning, or self-study packets that employees can read or watch during downtime at their own workstations to learn system basics, says Becky Manne, vice president of training and activation at Optimum Healthcare IT. Use practice sessions for hands-on experience with the EHR based on what employees have already learned on their own. This avoids days-long classroom training that often makes productivity come to a standstill, she says.

Some organizations choose to pay employees overtime for their time spent outside of work hours learning the EHR, Manne says. This eliminates the need to pay for temporary employees while staff attend lengthy classroom training. “It all depends on what the budget will tolerate,” she says.

Know Where You’ll Provide the Training
In their eagerness to provide high-quality content for EHR training, some organizations overlook the question of where the training will occur. The physical space must be close by, provide enough room to accommodate everyone, and ideally provide individual access to the EHR, Manne says.

Some organizations may be able to convert a space (eg, a surgeon’s lounge or a conference room) into a temporary training space. Others may need to look outside the organization at potential training locations. For example, one organization to which Manne provided consulting services used space in a nearby outlet mall.

If a single location doesn’t fit the bill—as is often the case for organizations with outlier physician practices—multiple locations may need to be identified, Manne says. “Remember that if you do decentralize the training to make it more conducive for participation, it generally increases the number of trainers you need. This circles back to the budget,” she says.

Don’t Forget Downtime Training
In the rush to train users on the EHR, organizations may forget that employees also need to know what to do when there’s downtime, Manne says.

“Most individuals become very savvy on how to use the technology, but they need education on what to do when that technology isn’t present,” she says. “There are employees who have never had to document on paper. When you tell them to go into the downtime procedure, they look at you as though they can’t take care of the patient because the system is down.”

Downtime training should be specific to each type of scenario (eg, downtime due to a power outage, system upgrade, weather-related disaster, or a variety of other reasons), Manne says.

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About the Author

Lisa Eramo, MA
Lisa A. Eramo studied creative writing at Hamilton College and obtained a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University. Lisa has owned and solely operated her own freelance business since 2009, providing quality writing and editing services to clients primarily in the healthcare industry–and more specifically, in health information management. Lisa is a member of the American Health Information Management Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Contact Lisa at [email protected] or

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