Once you have made the initial decision to purchase an electronic health records (EHR) system, and completed due diligence in order to choose the best system for your practice, you may feel like you’ve conquered the EHR mountain. However, developing EHR system staff training should not be overlooked. A good training plan is a vital step to a smooth transition to and getting the most out of your new EHR system.
Resources are available
You aren’t alone in making the transition to an electronic system, and there are resources that can help. First, HealthIT.gov has a series of pages on staff training for eligible professionals making the switch. They cover how to approach training, who should be trained, what resources are available, and a FAQ on what the Office of the National Coordinator offers in the way of resources. Most EHR vendors also offer training support, either by phone or in person.
Enough practices, hospitals, and eligible professionals have implemented EHR systems that best practices regarding training have clearly emerged:
- Basic computer skills. Depending on your staff’s overall comfort with technology, they may need help with basic computer skills. Although it seems that everyone is glued to a screen, many people don’t understand basic concepts such as windows or keyboard shortcuts. Expecting a novice to learn how to use a complex, advanced piece of software may be asking too much. 1
- Don’t skimp on training. Dedicate the appropriate time, funds, and effort to staff training, particularly if your staff is resistant to the idea of switching to an electronic system. The more your staff knows about your EHR, the more comfortable they will be with it. Training also builds confidence so that the day the new system goes live your staff will feel more equipped to handle any issues.2
- Follow the “super user” method. In larger organizations, small groups undergo extensive training so that they are prepared to mentor other staff members. In a smaller practice, it makes sense to have at least one person who knows the new system inside and out. That person can then assist everyone else. 1, 2, 3
Planning is a key to a smooth transition, and having a staff training as part of that plan is essential. Providing basic computer literacy training if necessary, appointing a “super user”, and making sure that the time and tools are available for training will help make implementing a new system an efficient and pleasant process.
1 Medical Economics. “Educating Staff on Your New HER.” http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/educating-staff-your-new-ehr?page=full. Published May 2015. Accessed July 2015.
2 American Medical Association. “3 steps to HER training for new staff members.” http://www.amednews.com/article/20120430/business/304309973/5/. Published April 2012. Accessed July 2015.
3 The Profitable Practice. “Five Best Practices for Training Staff of using a New EHR.” http://profitable-practice.softwareadvice.com/five-best-practices-for-training-staff-on-ehr-0513/. Published May 2013. Accessed July 2015.