Back to Blogs

January 1, 2015

5 Tips for Getting Your Staff Trained on a New EHR

Home > Blogs > Electronic Health Records

5 Tips for Getting Your Staff Trained on a New EHR

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is getting your staff on board. Without proper training and education, it can be daunting for healthcare professionals and other staff to walk through the system. Providing general training does not work for all; in fact, the intensity of the training you provide should be personalized and specific to each user’s role and skill level. For instance, some employees might have limited experience with computers and may need extra support with the usage of the application. Others may have a knack for learning new applications and will require less support. Many staff members will only need to get accustomed to the procedures they will need to perform daily rather than having complete knowledge of the EHR. Addressing these gaps can avoid setbacks and other frustrations that employees might encounter in real-time. Ensuring every employee is comfortable will facilitate a seamless transition to a new EHR system. Without appropriate training, the EHR implementation can result in more challenges than benefits to your organization. But this doesn’t need to be the case if you take a few strategic steps to achieve a smooth transition for staff to an EHR system. Here are five proven strategies that help ensure a successful implementation.

Understand Skill Levels

Assess your staff’s ability to adapt to the new software solutions and communicate this with your software trainers. Some employees might be able to use the system right after the training, while others need some time to understand and practice prior to going live. Make sure to identify staff that may need some additional time for training and allow time for staff to be adequately prepared so each user understands the application thoroughly. Working with your software trainer to develop a training plan for different comfort levels and learning styles will help to ensure no one gets left behind.

Role-based Training Is Ideal

Overtraining employees on the complete functionality of the EHR is a big mistake that most practices make. This will not only affect the implementation process but hinders the staff’s ability to retain the necessary information. Help your software trainers by grouping your employees based on their roles. This will allow for focused training needed for carrying out core responsibilities and meaningful conversations about workflow. Taking this approach will not only cut down learning time but also maximizes the efficacy of training and long- term success.

Communication is Key

Pre Training and Implementation

A key component for managing staff during this period of change is to provide staff with a clear explanation about the implementation of the EHR. You will need to make sure you communicate any expectations including:

  • What processes may change
  • What will remain the same
  • What staff will need to give up or stop doing
  • Who are the assigned leaders for the transition
  • What the timeline looks like for the implementation

Once expectations have been laid out, staff should be encouraged to bring up their concerns privately to the assigned leader during the transition. While some staff may express resistance to change, this will prepare everyone for what is coming and provide an opportunity for employees to provide valuable input - allowing time to address any issues that could cause a delay in adoption. Make your EHR trainers aware of any possible roadblocks or pitfalls.They likely have experience with some of the concerns that your practice may have and will be able to help you.

Post Training and Implementation

Getting employee feedback is a must. Training doesn’t end with implementation. Once your practice starts using the system, it is inevitable that you’ll recognize some areas for improvement - whether it is adding a custom setup option, additional training, or a workflow process to be redesigned. The only way to fix these issues before they become a big problem for the overall efficiency of your practice is by conducting post-implementation feedback sessions. Schedule regular feedback sessions and ask different users how they are handling the changes, whether they are facing any difficulties, or if any areas need improvement. Be sure to identify areas of concern and communicate with your EHR training team. The training team may be able to consult on workflow issues or provide additional assistance to create a better user experience and help your practice more easily adapt to the new EHR.

Schedule Several Short Training Sessions

As much as you probably want to dedicate only one day to train all of your staff, it is best to spread training out over a few days to avoid information overload. Plan on scheduling multiple short sessions. A training period over two hours could cause staff to lose focus and negatively impact retention. The result? Implementation will be a struggle and the practice workflow will slow down. Providing training in short, role- based segments will keep the staff more engaged and ensure a much smoother transition. And don’t forget, practice makes perfect! Encourage staff to practice going through the motions between scheduled training sessions.

Have a Team of Power Users

Power Users are the only individuals who learn the application intensively. Traditionally, this group consists of practice managers, clinical managers, and/or anyone with a deep understanding of how the practice operates. These individuals should have a comprehensive understanding of the goals of implementation, new workflows, and usage of the system. Power Users in your practice will be designated to provide clarification to the team and address any concerns that their peers may encounter in real-time. Power Users will be an asset in assisting those users in your practice who may find it more difficult to learn new software and should be able to support new employees entering the practice. The Power Users will also be a primary point of contact for your EHR vendor regarding any changes and upgrades that may affect the practice and will be responsible for scheduling additional training.