If the success or failure of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) go-live can be traced to a single activity, employee/clinician training could be considered the key to sustained long-term success. However, effective, impactful training doesn’t just happen. An exceptional EHR training program can transform your staff into dynamic organizational resources, but that won’t happen unless time, energy and resources are invested into the creation of an exceptional training program.
An exceptional training program has lots of moving parts including, but not limited to, curriculum development, trainer training (train-the-trainer), scheduling, registration, and end-user training and you will need the full support of organizational leadership as they are the stakeholders that you will depend on when making decisions.
For now, let’s focus on three major areas of an exceptional training program: the training team, super user program, and end-user training.
Your training team will wear many hats including end-user acceptance and operational buy-in for the EHR system. Therefore, they must be well-versed in the EHR and should be included in workflow design, validation sessions, and job shadowing. Trainers will be better prepared to develop role-based training if kept involved from the beginning of the project.
Your training team should be given ample time, 8-16 months depending on the size of the organization and the project, to develop strong training materials. Trainers and Super Users should work with the project team to review student questions, develop answers, and communicate those answers back to the organization in an easily accessible ‘parking lot, forum or medium.
Super User Program
Super Users assist with end-user training and create a strong foundation for go-live support. This internal network of end users provides at-the-elbow support during go-live and creates a strong organizational knowledge base that can be leveraged well into the future.
However, since Super Users are full-time employees, their supervisors must manage their time to allow them to perform their ‘day jobs’ on a limited basis, support end-user training, end user acceptance testing and work closely with the trainers. Cross-functional weekly meetings should be held to discuss questions, training techniques, system changes or any other information that Super Users can share with end-users. Super Users also serve as the channel for dialogue between the end users and the project team – bringing additional questions and requests into the conversation.
Comprehensive end user training that prepares your organization for life with an EHR is the ultimate purpose of your training program. Through proper planning, your training team will be prepared to fully engage your staff which will ultimately lead to capable end users, efficient workflows, happy clinicians and better patient care. Employees that do not receive proper training can’t fully utilize the EHR, which decreases productivity.
A best practice in the early phases of the project is to assess your end user’s computer proficiency and provide basic computer classes if needed. It is also important to work with end-users to register for training sessions in advance so they can properly manage their individual schedules.
Once training begins, it’s important to establish credibility with end users. Icebreaker introduction periods allow trainers and end users to introduce themselves which builds rapport and opens the lines of communication. To keep your trainees engaged, trainers must use a variety techniques to ensure that they engage all learning styles among the audience. It is the trainer’s responsibility to keep the class on the appropriate pace, allow time for questions and ensure that every trainee feels comfortable with the system and is ready for go-live.
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