As a healthcare provider, you’ve heard the term ‘electronic health record’ so much it’s likely to pop up in dreams. Whether or not this is pleasant is a matter of personality, but the truth is transitioning to EHRs is stressful, and settling on the best software option for your practice is only half the battle.
In an effort to obtain Meaningful Use incentives, many practices and IT companies alike are rushing through EHR training, which could lead to healthcare providers spending more time navigating an unfamiliar interface and an increase in error compared to the practice’s old paper-based system.
How can your practice get the most of EHR training? We’ve singled out seven questions to ask your practice before undergoing EHR training and implementation.
Is EHR implementation and training a top priority for your practice?
The answer to this question is straightforward. It needs to be, particularly because EHRs function as the base to other HIT initiatives your practice will likely adopt in the coming years.
Why is your practice transitioning to an EHR?
Sure, the Meaningful Use incentive is a good extrinsic motivator, but improved patient care, reduced medical errors and more efficient administrative and organizational problem solving should be at the top of this list.
How can the learning process be made easier?
Simplify the EHR training process by ensuring healthcare providers at your practice don’t skip training. Designate a project director to act as a liaison with your EHR vendor in setting up a training schedule, as well as keep track of providers’ training hours.
The project director must also confirm all pertinent members of your practice are undergoing EHR training.
Do you feel your EHR will do away with the ‘art of the note’?
Pay close attention to the kind of note-taking mechanism incorporated in your EHR and learn it well. Narrative note taking is important to various physicians across the range of ABMS specialties, which makes physicians and other specialists wary of template-based notes.
In an interview with Neurology Today last October, Rush University’s Dr. Allison Weathers suggested healthcare organizations opt for voice-recognition-EHR hybrids, believing physicians should be free to stray from template HPI (history of present illness) or A/P (assessment/plan) sections if they’d like.
Are physicians at your practice resistant to the transition?
If your project director is too busy, assign a ‘practice translator,’ or someone who can sit in on training meetings between physicians and the IT team to ensure both sides are communicating properly.
In the same issue of Neurology Today, neurologist Gregory Esper of Emory Healthcare insists physicians need “robust communication, real-time support, and […] to be part of the solutions,” all of which are helpful en route to winning over skeptics.
How often do you receive status reports?
Receiving periodic status reports detailing the functioning of your EHR, even during training, is imperative to avoiding communications glitches. Elderly care non-profit LeadingAge recommends reports are created every two weeks to avoid unnecessary mishaps.
Are healthcare providers at your practice clearly aware of their purpose for using the EHR?
Simply put, EHRs are confusing and cater to myriad healthcare providers with ultra-specific tasks. Verify that healthcare providers at your practice are very familiar with the tasks they’ll handle via the EHR to maximize comfort and confidence during the training phase.
What additional steps are you taking to ensure an effective EHR training period at your practice?