EHR Training: A Few Tips from Successful Physician Practices

June 4, 2012
Marisa Torrieri

When it comes to EHR implementation, the best advice comes through practices that have been there and done that.

In a recent interview published by Becker’s Hospital Review, physician Andres Jimenez, CEO of ImplementHIT, centered on some of the mistakes many practices and hospitals are making when it comes to EHR training. 

Rushing through training, providing training too early, and not giving specialty-specific EHR training are three of the biggest issues, but there are plenty of others.

Fortunately, there is a lot of great advice out there offered by the experts who work in the trenches. But perhaps the best advice comes through practices that have been there and done that.

Leann DiDomenico, administrative director of Performance Pediatrics, LLC, said three things worked especially well for her practice, the first of which was having staff watch training videos of a user going through common tasks, which her EHR vendor makes available online. She supplemented this by creating “cheat sheets” with EHR tips, as well as assigning an in-house staff “expert” to be available for retraining individuals who struggle.

“We had an employee who, at first, was frustrated by the technology,” DiDomenico told Physicians Practice. “I made the time to repetitively work certain tasks with her until she could do them on her own. It was well worth my time to make sure she was properly trained.”

Training patiently and retraining also worked for Susan Miller, administrator at Family Practice Associates of Lexington, Ky., who had been using an EHR for two years when "meaningful use" came along.

“We did do some pretty intensive training, for two days, for providers,” Miller recalled. “We broke it into groups. The trainers trained specifically on the elements the trainees were using for their job descriptions.’”

Miller’s practice did a few things to reinforce lessons learned, including lunch-hour “tips and tricks” sessions: Staff at the 60-person practice, including 12 physicians, would have lunch in the conference room and discuss aspects of the EHR that were difficult. The practice did these sessions daily in the first four to six weeks, and then weekly thereafter.

“It is hard to address everything in your EHR when you’re in the throes of it,” said Miller. “You still have to see patients, and you still have to be concerned about revenue. Typically your staff has a primary job and that job takes most of their time.”

To this day, Miller’s practice employs an individual who is dedicated to helping providers with EHR-related questions, customize templates, and go over technology updates.

“You don’t just train in the beginning,” said Miller. “You have to have ongoing training.”