EHR training often rushed, overwhelming

Some of the problems that hospitals and practices are running into with electronic health record adoption stem from the ways that staff are trained on the systems, Andres Jimenez, CEO of EHR training provider ImplementHIT, told Becker's Hospital Review in a recent interview.

For example, many EHR training programs rush to provide advanced training when physicians are not yet ready, overwhelming them and ultimately lowering retention rates.

"Think of the EHR like a Bentley. The driver must first learn how to control the vehicle, drive straight, yield to alerts like school zones and avoid any major accidents," Jimenez told Becker's. "These are the basics of driving.

"Similarly, the basics of an EHR might be entering the patient's medical history, writing a progress note, placing a simple medication order or understanding and adjusting the plan of care when an allergy or interaction alert pops up," he added. "Once you master the basics, you want to learn about the cruise control, heated seats and automatic parallel parking. These features are equivalent to order sets, health maintenance reminders and patient lists for targeted quality metrics in an EHR."

Jimenez also recommended that training sessions be tailored to each student, since some people learn more quickly than others. Additionally, he said, some customers will prefer classroom training, while others are likely to thrive via on-line training.

Inadequate EHR training has long been a bugaboo in the implementation of EHRs. Physicians have been vocal in their concern in surveys and in complaints to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT about how faulty training has impeded their ability to transition to EHRs and meet Meaningful Use. One physician last fall even went so far as to blame poor EHR training for his termination from his hospital employer.

To learn more:
- here's the Becker's piece
- read this physician survey
- listen to this Meaningful Use Policy Committee meeting

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