Thought Leadership in Healthcare IT

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EHR Implementation/ November 2017
November 7, 2017

Developing a Super User Program that Works

Super Users are an investment worth making when implementing Epic.  As stated on Epic’s UserWeb, “a strong Super User program that extends beyond go-live is one of the key factors in the success of your Epic implementation and long-term adoption of the system.”   As Super User Coordinator at a large healthcare system, I recommend focusing on these five areas when developing your Super User Program prior to your Epic implementation:

Recruit and Select Your Super Users Carefully
Super Users are your liaison between End Users and the Epic Project Team. They must be respected among their peer group and trusted to provide department-specific feedback to the project team through the organization’s feedback channels.  Additionally, they will relay information from the project team back to their department.  Ideally, you want Super Users who volunteer for the role… co-workers who want to be departmental leaders throughout the Epic implementation.  Never force co-workers into the Super User role.  Even if you feel they have the appropriate skills, they will not be successful in the role without the right attitude.  All Super Users should be excited about the Epic project.


Clearly Define Super User Roles and Responsibilities
Everyone needs to know expectations for Super Users throughout the install and understand the role does not end when go-live support ends. Super Users should feel accountable for the success of their department before, during and after go-live.  I recommend working with departmental leaders first, creating a “Super User Agreement” which details the roles and responsibilities of Super Users.  This agreement, which has already been approved by operational managers, is presented to Super Users at the Super User Introductory Meeting.  At this meeting, Super Users sign the agreement as an indication of their willingness to accept the roles and responsibilities of an Epic Super User.



Provide Ample Opportunities for Involvement with Epic
Epic strongly recommends that Super User involvement be ongoing and throughout the install. I find the most effective Super Users participate in multiple activities, giving maximum exposure to Epic before go-live.  Opportunities for involvement include:  Validation Sessions, Application Testing, Integrated Testing, Usability Testing, Workflow Walkthrough, Training Classes and Dress Rehearsals.   Because there are scheduling implications, you should plan the activities far in advance so operations can adjust schedules as appropriate and plan to backfill the Super User’s role.  Sometimes you’ll need to get creative to allow Super Users time to get involved with Epic.  Here are a few options that I’ve seen used for covering the backfill:

  • Bring in contractors
  • Allow overtime for staff
  • Increase the hours of part-time staff or infrequent workers

Require attendance at all training sessions
Epic’s recommended training path allows Super Users to learn in small, incremental steps. Since each step builds on knowledge gained in previous steps, none of the steps are optional; all training steps are mandatory.  Epic’s key steps for training a Super User include:

  • Step 1: Super User Introductory Meeting:  this one-hour Super User Introductory Meeting introduces Super Users to their role, responsibilities and training path.  This is also where all Super Users sign the Super User Agreement.
  • Step 2: Application Training for their Roles:  this training provides Super Users with an understanding of the Epic applications they will be using to do their daily work.  Super Users should be the first ones trained to afford them maximum time to develop a thorough understanding of Epic functionality.
  • Step 3: Art of Being a Super User:  this 90-minute e-learning series focuses on the soft skills of End User Support.  Some form of Adult Learning Theory is imperative, and this is Epic’s recommended solution.
  • Step 4: Support of End User Training:  Super Users should spend time supporting their peers in the classroom.  Doing so allows the Super User to hear the content again and lets them practice supporting peers by roaming the classroom and assisting with in-class activities.  An added bonus is hearing common questions of End Users, quite possibly the same questions that will come up at go-live.
  • Step 5: Super User Refresher Session:  About a week before go-live, all Super Users should attend a Refresher Session co-hosted by the training and project teams.  The Refresher Sessions typically focus on these topics:
    1. Go-Live Logistics: such as shifts, check-in/out process, and the issue resolution process
    2. Modified Workflows: some workflows may have been altered since training was initially launched.
    3. Complex Workflows for their Role: some workflows are just more complex than others and require more time on task.

Provide Super Users with Adult Learning Theory
One key step of the Super User training path is the 90-minute Epic-provided “Art of Being a Super User” course which focuses on the soft skills needed to support End Users during the Epic implementation. It is facilitated using five e-learning lessons and there is a Quick Start Guide provided for participants.  I know this is sometimes an overlooked part of both Credentialed Trainer training and Super User training.  Do not miss this piece!  I find it is best to schedule this training before Super Users support End Users in their training classes and I always reinforce the adult learning theory concepts in the lessons just before go-live.

In summary, Super Users are most familiar with their department’s workflows, end user requests, needs, and challenges. Serving as the liaison between their department and the Epic project team, Super Users are a good investment during every Epic implementation.  In addition to serving as the liaison, they can assist with classroom support, at-the-elbow support, and ongoing training for end users.

Make sure to subscribe to our blog to get the latest in healthcare IT thought leadership, delivered right to your inbox. Also, if you like this installment, please check some of our other posts below.

Are you Investing Time in an Exceptional Training Program?

Planning for an EHR Implementation?  Don’t Overlook Communication

Pro-Active EHR Optimization is a Necessity

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