I often wondered why physicians spend thousands of dollars on purchasing electronic health records (EHR)? When I discussed this with an EMR analyst, I finally got my answer. Simply put, they purchase these systems in the hope of reducing costs, increasing efficiency and enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery. However, in order to achieve that, it is extremely important for physicians to be properly trained on the functionality of their EMRs.
“Many physicians do not achieve the optimum results from EHRs because of the lack of expert training”, according to a New York based Cardiologist.
Physicians should be provided expert training on a regular basis to assess their clinical workflows and specialty specific requirements. This would help in enhancing the clinical, administrative and financial efficiency of their medical practice. Unfortunately, extensive training is often overlooked as EMR vendors and providers just focus on the basics, given the cost and time associated with this exercise.
The fundamental problem with EMR trainers is the expectation that physicians and other practice users have prior knowledge and basic understanding of computer systems. This results in an overload of information for physicians during their training. Ideally, rather than burdening physicians with comprehensive EHR training in a single go, the trainers should being with basic features and navigation of the solution before progressing towards in-depth technical knowledge. According to a recent study, a slow and steady approach for training leads to enhanced efficiency of a practice, and provides physicians with more time to attend their patients.
Another important factor is the difference in the learning capabilities of individual users. It is pertinent to understand that although some care providers might learn certain techniques in just a few hours of training, others may need much more time. Today, a few established EMR vendors have a dedicated team of trainers for their clients. These trainers are well versed with the inherent difficulties during training because of the varying backgrounds of each individual.
On top of that, EMRs can be conformed to suit the unique workflow of each physician. EMR vendors have now started to focus on the development of specialty specific EMR solutions for this very reason, and the fact that it helps reduce the amount of training required. With many physicians still uncertain about the Meaningful Use requirements, EMR training should be more focused towards the assessment of every user along with a simplified approach towards Meaningful Use compliance. Training is an integral part of the implementation of any EMR system and must be given utmost attention by vendors and providers alike.