Strategies for Successful EHR Adoption: Leveraging Simulation 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. The experience can be daunting for any provider trying to assess and diagnose patients while also documenting in a new system, says Craig Owen, interim CIO at MD Anderson. Simulation training can mitigate some of this anxiety. At MD Anderson, the goal of EHR simulation training was to promote a positive patient experience during and after this major transition while also helping providers feel confident in using the new system.

Providers at MD Anderson participated in 20 to 24 hours of mandatory classroom training before they completed two mandatory one-hour sessions of simulation training. During the simulation training, patient volunteers followed scripts prompting them to say certain things that would test providers’ knowledge of the new EHR. For example, patients deliberately forgot to tell the physician about a medication so he or she had to backtrack in the workflow to document correctly.

An EHR trainer in the simulation room evaluated physicians as they used the system. The trainer provided this feedback to a different individual who subsequently worked one-on-one with physicians to personalize the EHR so it met their needs more effectively, Owen says.

Volunteer patients completed a survey which evaluated physicians on their bedside manner when using the EHR. They answered questions such as: Did the provider look at you while using the EHR? Did you feel as though the provider cared about you? Did you have a good experience?

To provide the training, MD Anderson converted 25 infusion rooms into ambulatory clinic space complete with medical equipment, exam tables, and supplies. These rooms, which had been set to go under construction, served as the simulation training space for approximately five months.

“You have to look at the investment,” Owen says. “What’s going to help you have a safe and positive patient and provider experience at go-live and beyond? In the grand scheme of things, I think simulation training is a small investment to help ensure success.”

In addition to EHR simulation training, there are other ways in which HIM leaders can advocate for best practices that lead to the safe and successful adoption of EHRs. Watch for future blogs to discuss these strategies.

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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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