Training physicians on your new EHR is no easy feat. No one likes change — and it’s particularly difficult when that change has an impact on physicians’ daily workflow.
The single most important piece of advice when training physicians on your new EHR? Keep it brief, said Joncé Smith, vice president of revenue management at Stoltenberg Consulting. “Physicians are very busy, so answer questions with short, crisp and concise replies.”
Here are three more tips for training physicians on your new EHR:
Leverage a physician champion.
Since your goal is to drive physician adoption of your new EHR, choosing one of your more tech-savvy physicians as an internal expert and coach is key. “Physicians are much more inclined to speak up and voice opinions and concerns to a colleague than to [the practice administrator or IT person],” said Smith.
And don’t assume you know what type of support your physicians need, she said. Make sure you include your physician champion on your EHR project team, and ask for their advice on training physicians. Physician champions can also serve as a funnel point for all physician peer comments, questions, and ideas regarding the new EHR.
Prioritize time for education.
Partner with your physician champion and show your physicians how the new EHR will benefit them — not only as an individual care provider, but also in terms of what the new software delivers for the entire practice. It helps to show physicians in a hands-on way how the EHR will impact their daily operation and routines, said Smith.
Sure, classroom training is great, but get creative with your setting and format, advised Smith. “Physician training has to be highly focused and targeted. You’ll rarely get a full hour for physician training, so either break it down or pare it down.”
Prepare to deliver elbow-to-elbow system support.
“Create a special, dedicated team just for physician elbow-to-elbow support,” advised Smith. When this team isn’t providing support, they should be roaming around the patient care areas, attending physician staff meetings, and providing one-on-one support when requested.
Setting up a special physician-only hotline to offer system advice and to quickly mitigate problems is also helpful, she said.
Keep time on your side, advised Smith. “At best, you’ll have two weeks to get your physicians on board with using the system, or you risk losing them altogether.”