What are the key EHR training strategies?


Training is the central part of EHR adoption. The challenging part lies in creating a smooth process for the providers and staff in which the result of the training is positive. EHR features can be difficult to understand for doctors. But just like any other software, the duly required labor will produce favorable results.

The list of three key training strategies is given below. Let’s have a quick peek at them.

Online or onsite—Every individual trains differently. The EHR vendor should allow the flexibility of either training online or onsite. It should be selected by the EHR vendor or by the special request of the practice, at their desired location. Likewise, the practice should categorize the type of learners it has, and then allow the training to start. By doing this simple exercise before the start of the course, the learning process will get a boost resulting in an efficient usage of time. Remember, the less the practice pays, the better it is. The goal should be to make your workers skilled in using EHR as soon as possible.

Variety in training materials—A key EHR training strategy is the use of wide range of learning material. The learning method or process can at times become boring. One of the faults that should be avoided is the whiteboard method in which the instructor keeps on speaking and writing on the whiteboard. Involving the audience by giving one to two pages with graphical instructions at the start can be extremely helpful. Using screenshots of the processes that a practice may encounter in using an EHR can be helpful too. It speeds up the process of learning. The presentations or key materials used should be emailed to the respective attendees at the end of the EHR training session.

Interaction—One key feature of EHR training is interaction between the trainer and the trainee. The instructor of EHR should engage the audience with his verbal acumen; and should make the whole technical lingo easy to grasp. It is best to make use of some light moments with the audience; the trainer should narrate the awkward or funny moments he had encountered in previous training sessions. By doing so, the audience will become more relaxed. Asking questions from the audience is an important strategy to judge the comprehensive level and also helps to recall the lecture.

By applying a strategic approach to EHR training, the practice can save time and energy. It allows for the staff and providers to perform as a team. It helps in facing the challenge of adopting the EHR, a relatively smooth process.

 

EMR Adoption and Health Information Exchange


The last few years have been monumental for health. Electronic medical records have flooded into the mainstream with a recent report from Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggesting that nearly 55% of physicians in the US are at some stage of adoption. The survey also indicated that most respondents felt that EMRs had improved the overall quality of care. Industry analysts view this as a huge achievement for the healthcare industry and a giant leap towards the reformation process. One industry expert says, “The EMR has the numbers now. With more than half of the physician populous already using electronic medical records, physicians still using paper will have to join in or risk becoming obsolete.”

The U.S has been quick to utilize emerging technology in healthcare and with EMR adoption on the rise, physicians are likely to respond positively to innovation. “Our objective is connecting care and to reach this goal, we require an electronic health information exchange platform. EMRs provide just that”, says a hospital administrator.

John Lynn from healthcarescene.com shared a similar opinion in his blog. He believes that most of the healthcare community is aware of the benefits of Health Information Exchange (HIE). John argues that while standardization and development costs are two main barriers, the scale of EMR adoption in the country may be the biggest impediment to growth in the sector, he writes, “We want HIE’s to be successful, but can an HIE be really successful for doctors and hospitals that don’t have an EHR? The lack of EHR adoption might be the biggest impediment to HIE.”

The transformation of the healthcare system hinges on the success of electronic medical records. Having realized the importance of EMR adoption, the government extended its support through Regional Extension Centers and other educational communities in various states. The ONC highlighted the need for outreach programs targeting the rural and underdeveloped areas. While cost is a major deterrent here, education and exposure are the other key constraints.

The CDC survey also listed solo providers as the laggards in the adoption cycle, with only 30% reporting for adoption. However, the outlook is not so bleak. An industry expert highlighted that it’s common for independent businesses to lag behind in industrial changes, saying, “The adoption may be slower for independent doctor offices but it would change in the long run. Physicians are likely to follow large health corporations and hospitals in adoption. In fact there is an increasing trend of independent doctors adopting EMR systems with an HIE interface with their local hospital.”

HIEs are a step in the right direction and should help reduce cost in the long run. The communication process will simplify and health organizations will be able improve the patient care process through coordination. EMR adoption will continue to be the top priority and the government remains optimistic as it aims to shift America to electronic medical records by the end of 2014.

Read more: Data migration: Why is it important in Healthcare?

 

EMR Mergers and Consolidations


I was highly intrigued by Katherine Rourke’s article on EMR vendor consolidation. While I may not agree with the entire article, Katherine has raised some valid points. The health IT industry has seen enormous growth in the past few years and has to lead to an increase in highly sophisticated systems that are designed to run on multiple platforms and devices.

The problem for most EMR vendors is remaining competitive in the constantly evolving world of IT and the highly variable dynamics of the healthcare industry, do not aid their cause. While we have seen many products that have been withdrawn from the market, we have also witnessed a marked increase in new vendors. Consolidation and mergers usually occur in industries that have reached a stage of maturity, so this simply cannot be said about today’s highly volatile health IT industry.

Although we may witness small acquisitions every now and then, high profile mergers continue to be rare given the current market schematics. Interoperability is a major issue and most vendors require major work on their HIE networking. Many vendors should have accumulated sufficient finances from the growth in EMR adoption to fund the research and development work required to build these HIE interfaces.

It is not uncommon for IT based companies to generate external funding given market perception. Most IT companies have always been rated favorably in stock exchanges. However, companies starting afresh do not have a significant base to build upon. The competition in the EMR industry has helped improve the overall quality of solutions while it has brought the cost down. This has understandably impacted the amount of profits, which are not as significant as before.

The reason why we may not see competitors consolidate their business is user base and product identity. A merger is likely to alienate the user and could result in loss of business. The EMR market is highly segmented, where Products are sold regionally with local repute helping most vendors sell better. There is also the distinction of products that are designed for practices of a specific size and specialty. The products must complement each other for a successful merger, for example an EMR vendor merging with a Practice Management vendor. However, given the likelihood of health IT vendors developing elements missing in their solutions themselves, they are likely to refrain from mergers.