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.


5 ways to watch the financial health of your EHR vendor

You will be doomed if all of a sudden, your EHR vendor announces that they are going out of business due to losses and you can no longer avail their services. You are left in a conundrum. What should be the way out? After spending so much on the first EHR implementation, you will have no option but to go through the process again and make yet another investment in the system.financial health

So how could you watch the financial health of your EHR software vendor in the first place? Let’s give you a few tips which will caution you before any such event takes place.

  1. Stay alert: Set up Google Alerts about your EHR vendor and it will send you various alerts related to news, discussions, industry changes, developments, mergers or sells. This will be a great way to keep your EHR vendor in check.
  2. Ask the right questions: Find out how many installations and deinstallations your EHR vendor has had in the past one year. If you see there are many clients who are shifting to other EHR vendors, there might be something fishy going on.
  3. Check for developments: The EHR industry has fast development cycles and if your EHR vendor is keeping up pace with it, then you are in safe hands.
  4. Follow the money: You must check how the company is funded, what its annual statements are reflective of and how long it has been in the business. A small company with a better business model maybe more stable than an old company struggling with technology.
  5. Watch the market: Keep a close watch on the market trends and what new technologies are on the offer. Wait to see effects of any new development before deciding to shift.


These are a few ways through which you can keep a close check on the financial standing of your EHR vendor.


Cloud EHR – When Things Start Changing

Electronic Health Records (EHR) vendors are indebted to the guidelines imposed by the HITECH Act in regards to EHR adoption, which helped them capture the market share by encouraging physicians to use EHRs. Thanks to the legislation, physicians have been successful in ensuring the provision of quality care and enhanced patient safety, whereas EHR vendors have witnessed a major increase in sales volume.

Besides the HITECH Act, the requirements and needs of healthcare professionals is an indispensable factor that has helped established EHR vendors to make their mark in the industry. Having said that, it is believed that cloud EHRs have, without any doubt, helped EHR vendors in doing that.

Instant availability of patient records and other important information is a vital need to keep the care continuum intact. Unfortunately, there have been instances in which hosted EHR servers have failed to provide this facility to care providers. Imagine after making an investment of both time and money on learning and implementation of the application, eventually it does not serve the purpose – the end result would be nothing but frustration.

“It’s like you sell an old car to buy a new one, and at the end of the day this new car turns out to be extremely disappointing, something that you had never imagined. When you ask yourself the question whether it was a rational decision, that is when you finally realize your mistake”, says an annoyed, Michigan based physician.

Nevertheless, understanding that physicians require EHRs as a helping hand, established vendors introduced the cloud EHR. Cloud technology allows physicians to store, access, and retrieve patient information and related data from practically anywhere, at any time. It is because of cloud EHRs that physicians who once got agitated and wanted to step back to paper based documentation, ultimately changed their minds.

By allowing easy and secure access, cloud EHRs make patient data imperishable. Since all the information is stored online, the chances of physical damage are completely eliminated.

There are some physicians, especially solo providers or the ones operating small practices, who have this misconception that EHRs require an enormous monetary investment. Fortunately, established EHR vendors understand that not every physician has a bag full of dollars to finance such costly EHRs. Hence, they made sure that while introducing cloud EHRs, they considered the concern of affordability into account as well.

What to Ask About Your EMR Vendor?

Collecting EMR references has to be one of the underutilized methods of evaluating and selecting an EMR solution. If you cannot buy a laptop without asking around first, how would you want to get into a contract that spans over multiple years? Relying simply on what was promised is not a wise choice. User feedback can help physicians get a holistic view of the product along with the possibility of identifying various tips and tricks to better utilize such systems, particularly important for providers with no prior EMR usage experience.

Work can be split between staff members for better productivity and ideally physicians should participate with their administrative staff. This would help in establishing peer to peer level communication, allowing participants to gauge questions and responses better. While the practice may adopt multiple ways of communication, visiting the reference site in person or conversing over the phone may help in providing a more personalized outlook.

Another key is to not be limited to the contacts provided by the vendor. Physicians can find other practices by joining user communities or professional societies. Once you have established a reference sheet, the next step is preparing a questionnaire.

The most important questions to include in this questionnaire are:

  1. How long has the practice been using the EMR solution?
  2. How long did it take for the implementation to complete?
  3. How was the implementation experience?
  4. How long was the training process?
  5. Were the allocated training hours adequate?
  6. Did the application appear to be as easy as seen in the demonstration?
  7. How much of the annotation process is templates driven?
  8. Has the documentation process improved since implementation?
  9. How many patients were seen in a day before and after the implementation?
  10. How would they rate the quality of the exam note? Pre and Post implementation.
  11. Has the use of paper charts been completely eliminated?
  12. Did they consider or use scribes? If yes, what about the cost and quality?
  13. How would they rate their overall experience? And would they recommend the EMR to another practice?

Although this list is not by any mean exhaustive, but by asking the above questions most physicians will be able to gauge how suitable the EMR would be for their practice.