Three reasons why you need an EHR user training plan

An effective training program is associated with several benefits beyond simply acquiring technical competency in an EHR system. For example, research indicates that training can positively influence providers’ willingness to use EHRs effectively, and their understanding of how the system can be leveraged to improve clinical practice using advanced features. Lastly, with better training, providers are more likely to be satisfied with healthcare information technology.

Suffice it to say training is important; however, well-planned training is vital to achieving positive EHR-led outcomes. One of the main determinants of a hospital's readiness for EHR implementation is a detailed plan to guide an effective EHR training program. Lack of adequate training can result in serious negative outcomes regarding patient safety, information confidentiality, and healthcare quality.

To avoid these negative outcomes, healthcare organizations should create an EHR user training plan that considers users’ learning needs and their basic computer literacy, and aligns training with larger organizational goals and user needs. The following lists three reasons whys you need an EHR user training plan.

Well-planned training and practical training are based on a needs assessment

Before designing EHR training, users’ educational needs should be considered. The number of users of a system includes both physicians and administrative users which means that both user groups must have their respective needs met. Therefore a training plan should consider the different types of EHR users in an organization and the type of knowledge and skills they will need to develop.

By basing an EHR training plan on a needs assessment that considers deficit areas users need training in, and strength areas that they may not need attention in, an organization can make training more useful to users by avoiding redundancies in their curriculum.

Well-planned training emphasizes non-EHR computer skills

A lack of basic computer literacy will naturally limit an EHR user’s ability to use an EHR system effectively. Therefore, when planning for EHR training, planners should consider a user’s entire technology knowledge base and skill set, not just their ability to use the EHR. An individual who struggles to use a personal computer will likely struggle to use an EHR as well. To make users more confident and competent in an EHR incorporate different levels of non-EHR computer training.

Well-planned training aligns with organizational strategic goals

Before planning training, an organization should consider what it expects to accomplish from user training. If one is looking for an outcome about their EHR technology strategy, its reasons that a training plan would be designed to place users in a position to help your organization accomplish these goals.

Most organizations are implementing an EHR to increase their efficiency; to realize these goals, users need to be able to effectively use the system the way it was intended with no awkward workarounds. Without well-planned training, the prospects of practice will suffer from disruptions, and lost productivity increase greatly.

Further, a well-thought training strategy can minimize lost productivity after implementation by providing them the opportunity to develop the tools to become more competent users. With competency and confidence, an EHR can be used to leverage gains in many areas.

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Jeff Green

About the author…

Jeff Green, MPH, JD works as a freelance writer and consultant in the Healthcare information Technology Space.

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Jeff Green

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