If you’re like most practices, converting to a new Electronic Health Records (EHR) software system is in your cards, especially if you’re thinking of participating in the Meaningful Use Incentive Program. Getting the entire practice on board with such a big change can be stressful and you may not even know how to start! In today's guest post, Software Advice is here to provide tips on training your staff. Check out what they have to say!
Implementing an (EHR) system can seem daunting, especially if your practice is making the transition from paper records. But by providing effective training for your staff, you can avoid some of the most common frustrations.
Research has shown that good training is essential to successful EHR implementation. Training can help your practice avoid setbacks, errors, and even employee turnover in addition to facilitating a smooth transition to a new system.
Software Advice has put together five tips for effective training to get your staff up and running with a new EHR.
1. Assess Computer Skill Levels and Offer Training if Needed.
Step one is especially important for practices transitioning from paper to electronic, where employees may not use computers extensively on a regular basis.
You’ll need to identify basic computer skill levels among your staff and train up anyone who needs it. You can use one of many online resources to assess skills: there are free tests, paid tests, even tests you can create yourself.
If these assessments identify employees in need of basic computer training, you’ll need to get them up to speed. You could pay for classes at a local community college, or even pay an instructor to visit your office for training sessions. Alternatively, you could use free online resources such as Goodwill Community Foundation to help.
Providing basic training to employees who need it will make your staff more comfortable in the new electronic environment.
2. Select Tech-Savvy “Super Users” for Your Practice.
Designate one or two individuals whose role it will be to learn the system inside out and answer questions for the rest of your office. “Super users” should:
- Be highly computer literate;
- Be excited to learn new concepts;
- Be willing to help teach others; and
- Have been with your practice at least one year.
You may know right away who these individuals should be. If not, you can conduct a search of sorts within your practice. Consider offering an incentive, such as extra vacation or a small bonus, to motivate skilled employees to step forward to take on this added responsibility.
3. Train Staff Only on Features They’ll be Using.
It’s not necessary – and in fact, it’s impractical – for all employees to learn every feature of the system. Only the “super users” should know it backwards and forwards. Avoid frustration by tailoring training for the rest of your staff to each person or group.
For example, a billing employee will need to learn how to find insurance information and billing codes, but not how to enter a diagnosis. Don’t waste your time or theirs by training them on features they won’t use. This will speed up the learning process and minimize confusion.
4. Collect Feedback After the EHR Goes Live.
Once the system has been implemented, you’ll probably encounter some snags, such as a function you doesn’t understand or a process that takes too long and needs to be redesigned.
To stay on top of these issues and resolve them quickly, conduct regular feedback sessions in the months following implementation. Be sure to include members of different departments, so that all user groups are represented.
When issues are surfaced, evaluate and prioritize them so that you can tackle urgent issues first. For example, training nursing staff to enter vitals correctly is a higher priority than redesigning an inefficient workflow.
Take the changes one at a time to help your staff adapt more easily and to ensure patient care doesn’t suffer along the way.
5. Use Your EHR Vendor’s Online Resources.
Your staff may come up with questions that your “super users” just can’t answer. If that happens, be sure to take advantage of the online resources most EHR vendors provide.
Typically, the vendor’s website will contain learning and training resources, accessible with a username and password that the vendor provides. Often these resources include manuals, and sometimes even video tutorials, which you can access without having to pay for extra training.
Additionally, you can often find community forums tied to vendors’ websites. These forums give you the opportunity to connect with others who are using the same system.
EHR implementation is challenging, but following these best practices will help your practice avoid costly mistakes and make the transition smooth. Employing a strategic training approach will help you begin using the system effectively more quickly, which will allow you to focus on your top priority: quality patient care.
Amanda Guerrero originally contributed this piece to Software Advice. Amanda is a writer and blogger specializing in EHR, patient portal technology and Meaningful Use. From her years working as a file clerk at a doctor’s office to her time as an implementation manager at an EHR company, Amanda has witnessed the evolution of the healthcare industry’s charting system firsthand. View the original post here: Five Best Practices for Training Staff on Using a New EHR
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