As a trainer of Dragon Medical Practice Edition software, I observe the frustration of providers
trying desperately to learn a new EMR, while at the same time, trying to keep up with seeing the same number of patients in their day. It’s not that management intends to create a less than desirable atmosphere in the workplace. After all, they had every intention of making the working environment better for the employee, the patient, and the business by introducing a state-of-the-art system. Unfortunately, you know what they say about the road paved with good intentions! Sometimes good intentions fall short and we need to re-evaluate the needs of the people these decisions affect.
What do providers need when introducing an Electronic Medical Records system?
1. TIME - We are individuals with different levels of experience and IQ’s. Employees need to be treated fairly. Everyone learns at a different pace and some may have very limited experience on a computer. Time should be provided for a provider to experience the EMR and get acquainted with it. Remember when you went to school and there was someone at the top of your class, and then there was the one that struggled to keep up? Patience goes a long way in getting everyone up to speed. Allow for numerous overviews showing the different elements of the EMR and how it relates to their current workflow, well in advance of the live date.
2. TRAINING - Tailor the training for ALL skill levels. My knowledge of computers and software is far different than my boss. Put something new in front of me and it will take me twice as long (ok, maybe three times as long), to learn how to use it, as it would take her. Make sure the training being offered is tailored to different skill levels. Instead of having one type of training for everyone, possibly offer group trainings for higher level users and then have one-on-one sessions for those who are more computer-challenged. Don’t settle for training that TALKS AT people. Most successful training is interactive and allows for questions. As far as the cost, if an organization fails to invest in good training, they will ultimately pay the price when they go live. No organization wants their providers becoming so frustrated they leave or retire because they are not properly trained. Speaking from experience, I have seen providers abandon Dragon Software, because they thought they could train themselves. Make the most of the EMR investment so it is worth everything you’ve poured into it.
3. LIGHTER LOAD - The first week or two the patient load should be lessened. Depending on the specialty, providers see patients every 10-15 minutes. It is an unrealistic expectation to have a provider’s patient load remain the same while they are trying to navigate the EMR, document patient encounters and keep up with numerous other changes to their workflow. That is like expecting me to run a marathon, when I’ve never even attempted a 5K. Doomed from the start! In addition, the stress is not good for anyone and can negatively affect other parts of our work.
4. GOALS – Clearly communicate goals to providers. For instance, make known the EMR live date as soon as possible. Offer sign-ups for training and an expected completion date. If providers currently use a transcriptionist, communicate the date when transcription services will end. Communicate clearly and timely. Goals can be reached if you have an effective plan.
Do you have EMR pains we haven’t addressed? Let us know! Making the road to EMR use easier will result in satisfied providers, happy patients and a successful operating organization!