Invest in tech-savvy employees to bring more value to your practice.
It’s a situation we encounter often in our work with independent practices: there’s one special person in the office who seems uniquely able to tame the tech beast and winds up helping everyone else. Sometimes, this person is a medical assistant who always catches on fast to the EHR’s new features. The “tech whisperer” could also be a biller who has quietly figured out how to cajole the practice management system into revealing its most useful tricks, or a front desk employee who hears about useful tech add-ons in place at other practices and immediately sees their potential.
This is typically an informal thing. The employee doesn’t have “IT” in their job description. Everyone just knows who to turn to for help when they can’t get technology to behave.
Enter the “superuser”
The emergence of such a pattern in your practice is an opportunity. These motivated employees have the potential to become “superusers.” Recognizing them as such can yield big benefits for your practice.
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What, exactly, is a superuser? In a nutshell, superusers are subject matter experts who gain additional expertise in technology so that they can help bridge the gap between their peers in their field and technology developers. In a hospital, for example, nurses commonly train to become EHR superusers. Because they understand both clinical priorities and the system, they can help their clinical colleagues overcome problems and use the system more easily.
Not just for big hierarchies: Superusers in independent practices
Superusers are an accepted part of the strategy for rolling out technology in large organizations, whether in healthcare or outside our industry. This type of role is less common in smaller organizations, though; at first blush it may seem too costly to define such a role in an independent practice, but it’s possible to recognize your tech-savvy employees’ contributions and craft a superuser role for them that’s appropriately sized and bounded for an independent practice. In doing so, you can make your tech stars’ jobs more meaningful, improve their engagement, and retain them longer. And, of course, you’ll enable your practice get more value from your significant investments in tech.
Here are a few ways to create an effective superuser role in your practice.
Laurie Morgan, MBA is a partner and senior consultant for Capko & Morgan. Her consulting focuses on practice management effectiveness and practice profitability. She is the author of the book People, Technology, Profit: Practical Ideas for a Happier, Healthier Practice business as well as the Management Rx series of e-books, and blogs at capko.com/blog.