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EHR Training - 10 Best Practices to Train Your Staff in Adopting a Behavioral Health EHR

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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 the industry is in part affected by low levels of confidence among staff in using an EHR, leading to poor usability and acceptance, as well as overall distrust in the EHR. However, well-executed EHR training programs can turn this around.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the realities of changing behavioral healthcare delivery have placed considerable stress on staff and practitioners. By further changing daily operations when implementing an EHR system, staff particularly can be intimidated and even overwhelmed. By getting ahead of this and designing an EHR training plan, not only will it make this process smoother and providers' jobs easier, but it will also jumpstart the process toward those considerable EHR benefits for both clients and providers.

Best practices while preparing staff for EHR training

1. Personalize your approach

This is your team, and you value them for the individual contributions they make to your clients and your practice. So, be sure to consider them as individuals in the training equation. Ask any instructor, and they'll confirm that every student has a different learning style 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. Another trick any teacher will tell you is students learn best from one another. Foster your super users, and you will 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 EHR that their department will use

The reality is that not every person on the team has to 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 will 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.

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

The go-live is exciting but stressful, and once you hit that day, each team member will have learned, grown and felt ownership in this success. But, 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 require new training on new features occasionally.

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 towards 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 behavior health practices with its EHR system, building bridges for teams as they coordinate client care. Core helps providers train and integrate the EHR to 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.

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