Nextech Named 2024 Best in KLAS: Ambulatory Specialty EHR

«  View All Posts


Practice Makes Perfect: The Need for Ongoing Systems Training

By: Nextech | November 24th, 2014

Blog Feature

Most specialty practices set aside ample time for software systems training when implementing new technologies. It’s typically all-hands-on-deck for vendor training during EMR implementation, and many host topic-specific training sessions to support meeting Stage 2 requirements for practices that pursue meaningful use. In addition, most practices that bill any insurance companies are currently focused on training in preparation for the ICD-10 transition.

But what about the long stretches in between milestones?

In the Urban Institute’s final report on “Lessons Learned from the Literature on Health Record Implementation,” it identifies three stages of EMR/EHR implementation. The report noted that the “final stage, optimization and modifications, is a continuous process,” including the need to “train staff on an ongoing basis” to optimize system use.

Unfortunately, many practices overlook this vital step.

There are many reasons why ongoing training is imperative. Even the best implementation training can’t account for every question that comes up later. Add to that minor changes to the software, fine-tuning of templates and workflow, and people assuming new responsibilities, and ongoing training really does become essential to getting the best return on software investment.

Every specialty practice wants to minimize disruption, and webinars are an excellent solution for training that can be worked into regular work schedules. The trick is to maximize webinar value with strategies, such as:

  • Make the webinar a group activity. Just as group learning has its rewards in initial training, so it is with webinars. Scheduling a webinar for a group encourages a higher level of participation and attention, and encourages post-webinar discussion about insights learned.
  • Encourage active participation. Webinars often present the opportunity to submit questions during the presentation, with moderators weaving answers in real-time or presenting them in context toward the end—the next best thing to getting vendor answers in-person.
  • Recognize ongoing online training as a positive priority. When a practice’s leadership makes it clear that it places high value on webinars—with leadership participating when appropriate—others are likely to follow by example.

Of course, there are many venues for systems learning beyond webinars, including user groups and regional training seminars, provided they are available and the practice is equipped to set aside sufficient time for attendance. As an alternative to sending large numbers to training seminars and user groups, consider assigning participation to a “super-user”— a topic for a blog post to come — who can then share learned insights with others throughout the practice.