Whether your practice is preparing to launch a new EHR platform or you’re in the midst of an implementation, you might have discovered you have some staff members that aren’t able to be trained.
The reasons behind the decision to train or not train particular groups of employees vary widely. Some employees may have difficulty grasping new technologies. Their roles may be far removed from the EHR or PM system and its impact on the practice. Other team members might not be included in training sessions simply because there is a finite number of logins available within the system.
No matter why you’ve decided to exclude some members of your team from the bulk of the EHR or PM system training program, there are still many opportunities for them to support the practice and its use of digital patient record technology. Consider these tips for managing your legacy employees during an EHR implementation.
Scale back on scope
For those team members who aren’t good with technology or who have expressed disinterest in interacting with the new system, a scaled-back approach to training may still be appropriate. For example, staff members who are hesitant to learn the ins and outs of the EHR system might be amenable to training that covers only those areas they’ll be using on a regular basis.
There’s no value in overwhelming employees with an exhausting training program when their responsibilities require knowledge of only one or two few specific sections.
Another good strategy is to look for ways to provide enough education about how the system works and its navigation path so employees can effectively respond to patient questions and concerns. If a patient calls in wondering how to access lab results online, the employee doesn’t need to interrupt another team member or inconvenience the patient with a long wait. Instead, even without the full training under their belt, the employee will still have the skills to walk the patient through the menu options to find the information they want.
Focus on patient engagement and outreach
Employees from every area, even if they don’t receive training on the new EHR platform, should be mindful of their role as good ambassadors for the system. Simply getting patients signed up for the portal will be a big focus soon after rollout, and staff who didn’t attend training can still be helpful on the front lines when it comes to those outward-facing tasks. Anyone involved in providing care can explain to patients why the practice has moved to an electronic system and the benefits—more convenient patient access to information, faster documentation for DCs, etc.—that will come from it.
In addition, staff can help to streamline activities that are being transitioned to the EHR or PM system. Are there forms the patient can fill out via the online portal prior to their appointment? Untrained employees can be given the responsibility of letting patients know which forms they can complete before they arrive at the office. The in-person efficiency gains from leveraging the EHR’s features may even help sway reluctant users.
Marketing and similar outreach activities are also perfect tasks for those employees who won’t receive formal training on the EHR or PM system. The practice will likely want to send out an e-mail letting patients know about the platform’s implementation, its timing, and what features it will offer once the installation is complete. If your team doesn’t include a full-time marketer, see if someone else would like to take on patient outreach as a fun way to channel their creativity.
Look at long-term needs
Every software platform has a host of ongoing administrative requirements, something that calls for general office skills rather than system-specific knowledge. Untrained team members can be responsible for maintaining training records for the rest of the staff. They may also be called upon to schedule refresher training as new modules are added or as the system is updated by the manufacturer.
Oversight of the practice’s compliance with meaningful use guidelines as they apply to the EHR system’s implementation is another area where untrained staff may still contribute to the software’s effective utilization within the practice. Monitoring of privacy risks and regulations, tracking of patient engagement levels and general record keeping may all be tasks your team members can take on without participating in EHR training.
If an employee chose not to be trained on the EHR system during the implementation, their perspective may evolve over time. It’s worthwhile to occasionally check back in with them to see if they’re interested in an abbreviated training program or if they have questions about the system that could be addressed with a quick, targeted session with an instructor.
When administrative limitations put a lid on how many employees can be trained, be mindful to reassign available logins any time a team member leaves the practice or their role changes in a way that reduces their need to access the EHR system. This ensures the technology is returning the best benefit for your investment and that employees’ time is used most efficiently.