Most of the articles on electronic health records (EHR) focus on features, functionality, or the purchasing process. And, undoubtedly, each of these topics is vital.
But perhaps just as critical to successful EHR adoption is how easily your staff adapts to the new software. If they have trouble, practice productivity will suffer. Below are some pointers that’ll help you decrease the amount of time your staff needs to adjust to a new EHR, so you can see a faster ROI.
Prepare Staff Beforehand
Every staff member should weigh in on a new EHR. If you are switching over from paper-based record keeping, all staff members should be made familiar with EHR terminologies like CPOE and HIE, so they aren’t lost when the software is officially implemented.
Have staff create goals, so they become personally invested in the EHR’s successful onboarding. Using the S.M.A.R.T. goal model may help. It separates goals into Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound checkpoints that are easy to measure.
Also, remind your staff that moving to a new system will only make their jobs easier. Discuss how appointment scheduling and patient management features will create smoother workflows. This should get them excited and increase acceptance of the new system.
Conduct EHR Training
Most quality EHR vendors provide training for their clients. You should assign one staff member – presumably one who will use the system frequently – to serve as the primary trainee. Once that staffer knows the ins and outs of the new system, he or she can serve as the EHR trainer for other staff members.
The remaining staff should be trained as close to EHR go-live as possible. That way, there isn’t time to forget what was learned. Host a rehearsal the day before go-live to make sure everyone has a grasp of their duties.
If you’re having trouble with training, bringing in a practice consultant may prove beneficial. Consultants typically have experience with guiding practices through the EHR transition period.
There is more to full EHR adoption than simply getting your staff trained. Sometimes staff members pick up bad habits like using paper workarounds.
Always check whether staff members are actually using the EHR’s correctly. Compare their EHR usage to the S.M.A.R.T. goals they set before adoption.
If any staff members are falling short in a particular area, you’ll have to move back a step and revisit the training process. If it’s only one problem employee, then deal with that person directly. But if it’s a practice-wide problem, it’s best to bring everyone together for a mini-training session.
Even the best EHR won’t do much good if vital staff members resist the switch. But by choosing a solid vendor and implementing a set process of preparation, training and check-backs, you should have success gaining widespread acceptance for your new EHR.