Core Solutions Blog

How to Develop an EHR Training Plan for Your Staff


Despite the clear benefits, barriers remain in adopting the electronic health record (EHR) in the behavioral health industry. The EHR has become the cornerstone of digital healthcare transformation, with benefits including improved safety and prevention of medical errors; effectiveness through better diagnoses; interoperability efficiency in team communications; and productivity refinements for providers. The lag in utilization in the industry is in part due to low levels of computer literacy among staff in many sectors using an EHR, leading to poor usability and acceptance. However, well-executed EHR training programs can turn this around.

Identify technology competencies that will best serve your behavioral health organization with our guide, The Ultimate Guide to Behavioral Health EHR Selection.

Designing an EHR training plan can help already-overwhelmed behavioral healthcare providers and staff feel less intimidated by a new system and make the transition smoother and easier, while also jumpstarting the process toward considerable benefits for both clients and providers.

The Benefits of an EHR Training Plan

Even if you have the best EHR for behavioral health, you won't get far without proper onboarding. An EHR training plan ensures your providers and office staff fully understand the platform. There are many benefits to developing a training program for your EHR, including:

Increased Accuracy

Coding and documentation errors can lead to problems with billing and potential concerns with regulatory authorities. Documentation errors can also jeopardize clients' health and privacy. With training, your staff learns how to input information correctly. 

Greater Productivity

When providers aren't sure how an EHR works, they’re likely to spend extra time finding documents they need, which reduces efficiency and can create delays between client visits. Once your team learns how to use the system, they can navigate it with confidence.

Better Client Care

Accurate documentation and increased efficiency are two factors that contribute to a higher quality of client care. An EHR also enables providers to coordinate care with others, minimizing repetition and reducing the chance of medication interactions or contradictory treatment protocols.

Higher Return on Investment

Implementing the best EHR for mental health, substance use disorders, and intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) is an investment. If you're going to dedicate a considerable amount of your practice's resources to a platform, you want to ensure you get the maximum return. Teaching your team how to use the platform effectively makes them more likely to leverage all its capabilities.

Happier Team Members

When your providers are confident using the EHR, they’re less likely to feel overburdened by the demands placed on them. The happier your team members are, the more likely they’ll remain in the profession and at your practice.

Maximizing the EHR

An EHR is so much more than an electronic medical records system. Implementing the best EHR for behavioral health can revolutionize your practice, if your team members know how to use it. With comprehensive training, your providers can leverage every feature of the EHR, saving your practice time and money and strengthening your client relationships.

EHR Training Strategies

Your team of providers specializes in delivering top-notch, high-quality care and treatment to your clients. They may not be particularly tech-savvy or able to use all the capabilities of a new software platform without support. 

Training your clinicians and office staff in a newly adopted EHR is a considerable investment. You'll need to dedicate time and resources to ensure your team makes the most of the system. There are various training strategies to maximize your EHR and ensure your clinicians feel comfortable using it, including:

  • Role-based training: Role-based training focuses on the responsibilities of each staff member and trains them to use the EHR based on their daily tasks and assignments. For instance, clinical staff learn how to input client data and access client files while administrative staff focus on billing and scheduling.
  • Process-based training: Process-based training helps your employees understand how workflows function in the EHR. You may use this training to show providers how to develop treatment or medication management plans for their clients.
  • Super user training:
Super users are team members who learn the EHR inside and out. They can then provide training to other staff members and offer support to users who may be struggling to learn the system.

Even a user-friendly and intuitive EHR platform requires some training for proper implementation. Training can unlock the EHR's time-saving and stress-saving features. It also minimizes the risk of documentation errors or privacy concerns.

How to Develop a Training Plan for EHR Implementation

Your EHR training plan determines how training takes place and should include the timeline and overall goals for the training. When developing an EHR training plan template, consider the following:

  • Skill assessment: The first step involves determining the computer literacy of your staff and implementing basic computer skills training for those in need.
  • Who you need to train: Second, decide who should receive training and identify the number of sessions needed.
  • How you'll train: Training can take many forms. You may set up online training sessions or have a trainer visit your practice to lead the sessions. Consider any resources to provide your team, such as user manuals or quick-tip cheat sheets.  Also understand how your EHR vendor supports you throughout your training process.
  • Training goals: Consider training objectives. You can create goals that guide your team each step of the way, encouraging them to master certain features of the EHR before they move on.
  • Location: Will you host training sessions on-site, or have users complete the sessions online? Do you have space available to accommodate a training session for multiple people simultaneously?
  • Deadlines: Create a timeline for your EHR implementation and allow team members enough time to train and build their confidence with the system. How long you need depends on the training strategy you adopt. Super users will need longer to become fully familiar with the system than role-based or process-based users.

EHR Training Plan Best Practices

Consider these ten best practices when developing your EHR platform training plan.

1. Personalize your approach

Everyone has varying learning styles and comes with different levels of confidence and skills. Consider both when assessing each member of your team for EHR training, and be patient and empathetic regarding their confidence.

Much training today (synchronous and asynchronous) includes a balance of visual learning (videos and images), verbal instruction (text backup), and hands-on (demos and examples). Each learner responds better to certain types. Using a personalized approach will give them confidence in their new skills, enabling them to become super users. Foster your super users, and you’ll find effective learning spreading across your team.

2. Tailor EHR training plans to individual computer literacy skills and tech-savviness

Some on your team may need to sharpen their computer skills before diving into technical details. So, take the time to assess both their computer skills and their comfort with technology in general. Identify the members on your team with strong tech skills. Perhaps have them help you assess each person’s comfort level in this area. Then focus first on those who need initial computer help before plunging them into EHR training.

3. Focus specifically on the areas of the EHR that their department will use

The best EHR for mental health, substance use disorder, and IDD will offer features that make a significant difference in the lives of all employees who use it, but the reality is that not every person on the team must know the entire EHR functionality (at least not initially). A role-based training strategy will remove unnecessary stress and allow you to tailor EHR training sessions to different staff responsibilities. Eventually, you’ll discover your super users this way, and they can each train their colleagues (as well as new staff) on more comprehensive EHR use.

4. Find the right time and people

Your staff must keep the practice running while training, so determine who needs to train and when. Consider schedules and fluctuations in client patterns. Involve the team to help you figure out the best schedule. This will empower them even further and give them the opportunity to take more ownership of EHR training and implementation. Ensure that there’s very little lag time, if any, from training to go-live. Otherwise, you may find that your staff have already forgotten what they were trained on.

5. Schedule uninterrupted learning opportunities

Be realistic about how your team learns. Multi-tasking while learning is not an effective strategy. Instead, consider scheduling learning sessions by temporarily restructuring everyday workflows. This necessary step may feel intrusive to a team already busy with daily operations, but the benefit will make EHR training far more efficient. Give your trainees uninterrupted learning opportunities to best accommodate their learning styles. As a result, each staff member will capture and store that new knowledge and skills into long-term adoption.

6. Reward staff members who quickly take on the system and can help train others

In finding your super users, you find essential keys to successful EHR training and adoption. Reward your super users and trainees to show them your appreciation for their efforts. Consider what you can do to incentivize this training process – perhaps a lunch and learn, where you provide a meal while your team completes a certain training session (like a demo, orientation, or advanced learning piece). Or maybe start or end training with a group celebration.

7. Make the transition enjoyable

No matter their age, people get enthusiastic when learning is fun. Another teacher’s tip is to offer prizes during the learning competition, but the prizes don’t have to be expensive – the fun is in learning, accomplishing something new, and growing. And even without prizes, training can be engaging through roleplaying and scenarios that get people actively involved in situations they may encounter in real life.

8. Ongoing training needs to be part of the overall plan

EHR training is an ongoing process. You'll always have new staff coming in, and tenured employees will need refreshers. After all, there are periodic EHR upgrades and updates, so the team will occasionally require training on new features.

Consider how you can continue to sharpen each team member’s EHR skills. Encourage them to keep up with training to stay productive and work toward their professional development.

9. Work with your EHR vendor to introduce and explain features with ease

An effective EHR vendor should help you train your team with resources and support. Core Solutions has a plan for you to customize the support of your EHR training process. Let Core be a part of your leadership and partner with you on overall and ongoing training strategies.

10. Use an intuitive EHR to make training simple

The ultimate indicator of a successful EHR implementation is an intuitive and effective EHR system. Core empowers behavioral health practices with its EHR system, building bridges for teams as they coordinate client care. Core helps ensure all practices can make their treatment centers dynamic, efficient, and more effective throughout the exciting process of digital transformation. 
Contact Core today to discuss how the Cx360 platform can change everything for your centralized care coordination.

New call-to-action