Establish a Culture of Ongoing EHR Education

Electronic health record software is consistently updated in order to adjust to the ever-changing and dynamic healthcare and technology worlds. That’s why training must be seen as a consistent commitment, not a one-and-done effort. Regardless of whether you’re going to switch to a new EHR or plan on staying with your current solution, here are five best practices for establishing a culture of ongoing EHR education.

Designate a super-user

To start, designate a super-user. A super-user is a point person who understands the big picture and sees the entire scope of the practice, particularly how different functions, workflows and data inputs affect one another. The super-user should serve as a central point of contact for members of the practice as well as the EHR vendor.

Set dedicated training times

Have the super-user dedicate certain days/times for training during the implementation and go-live periods and then maintain them at appropriate intervals beyond the roll-out. 

During implementation, you’re taking in a lot of information, so you may need to meet daily or weekly to review all the items you’ve learned. After implementation, monthly training should be adequate. 

Some practices utilize lunch-and-learns or times before the practice opens to host educational gatherings. I have even heard of practices conducting training after business hours, with snacks and refreshments offered. Keep the mood light, but the key is to set a time for that consistent commitment to training to make sure team members are aware of updates and changes to the software that is evolving with your practice.

Identify what every practice role  needs to know to be successful

The super-user should work with staff in different roles of the practice and regularly engage with them to clarify how the system is supposed to serve their specific role in the practice. An EHR software may have many bells and whistles, but every staff member may not need access to all of them. 

You can avoid overwhelming staff members by helping them to focus on exactly what they need to use. Learning the fundamentals of completing day-to-day activities is the foundation. Learning the bells and whistles will come later. For example, but not limited to:

  • Front Desk – Registering, scheduling, check-in, and check-out
  • Biller – Posting charges and payments, how to capture a snapshot of your claims statuses, unconverted superbills, unfinalized note count, claim turnaround, patient credits, and amount of patient statements in queue
  • Clinical Staff – Documenting vitals, chief complaint, review of systems, administering vaccines, lab results
  • Providers – Documenting exam, assessment/plan, orders, reviewing lab results

Commit to consistent and open communication

Regardless of whether your EHR system is a new roll-out or not, consistent communication is the glue that holds together all training efforts. In some practices, a super-user may gather information about software updates, but forget to disseminate it to the staff. Avoid this pitfall by establishing communication protocols, practices, and even meetings. Some successful examples include:

  • Identify champions to assist in ongoing template upkeep, personalization and learning new features.
  • Create a communication strategy to disperse information to staff to avoid duplicative efforts or gaps. A robust EHR system should include messaging tools to enhance team communication.
  • Hold regularly scheduled team meetings and dedicate a section of them to system updates from the super-user.

Utilize resources provided by the EHR software

Reputable EHRs come with many tools, and training is a good time to vet all the resources provided. Allow time for super-users to navigate articles, quick reference guides, and videos. If offered, take advantage of any remote training and onsite training. Some teams may choose to take advantage of e-learning courses as their primary training format. Many can be quite comprehensive, complete with guided learning journeys and weekly guidance.

If you keep these best training practices in mind, you can establish a culture of ongoing EHR education and feel confident that your practice is getting the most out of your EHR.

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