Intellectual Disability Software: Training and Implementation Considerations
by Core Solutions on June 8, 2023
The use of advanced technologies is a huge boon for organizations serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. EHR software can help IDD service providers achieve new levels of efficiency. Using configurable workflows, providers can automate next steps based on evidence-based best practices. Having a centralized source for all documentation, outcome tracking, and data analytics illuminates insights that can be used to evaluate the costs of care and maximize reimbursements.
Realizing these benefits hinges on successful software training and implementation. But providers who are making their first investment in IDD software may struggle with setting up workflows that function best for their practice, or staff members may be unfamiliar with electronic health records (EHRs). Proper training for intellectual disability software is critical not only to the success of the organization but also to the quality of services delivered.
Why I/DD Software Training Is Key to Successful Adoption
Implementing new technology can be a daunting task for any organization. IDD service providers must consider how the software meets the needs of individuals who often receive care across several settings and have drastically different care plans. To support person-centered planning, providers need access to disparate data that can be centralized and shared between other providers, caregivers, and the individual receiving support — over the course of a person’s lifetime.
When the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) met last year to discuss federal opportunities for improving data infrastructure to address the needs of individuals with I/DD, the panel reported that there is a need for measures that can track outcomes from the point when an individual receives an I/DD diagnosis through their entire life course. The report also stressed the importance of investing in tools and resources to facilitate that collection.
The right intellectual disability software will support this kind of person-centered approach, but only if staff know how to use it.
How well staff acclimate to new technology can vary based on a number of factors, but one stands out. Healthcare IT News reports that EHR training is the biggest predictor of user satisfaction.
If healthcare organizations offered higher-quality educational opportunities and providers were expected to develop greater mastery of EHR functionality, many of the current EHR challenges would be ameliorated. This opportunity is a clarion call for I/DD service providers to strengthen and enhance EHR training.
EHR Training for I/DD Services: Overcoming Common Challenges
Insufficient time for training:Researchers have found that one of the most significant hurdles of EHR training is not devoting enough time to onboarding and mastery. In one study, for every additional hour of initial EHR education users received, there were “significant jumps” in their overall satisfaction with the EHR experience. Organizations requiring less than four hours of education for new providers appear to be creating a frustrating experience for users. In short, it is important to consider both the quality and quantity of the educational opportunities to create the best experience.
Lack of personalization:Another challenge of creating a quality training experience is tailoring the experience to the kinds of roles and tasks your I/DD care team requires. Focusing organizational support and resources on role-based training centered on personalization features for each workflow helps to address barriers caused by steep learning curves or the complexity of the EHR. Having a higher level of personalization is key to quality EHR implementation, cementing the value of the EHR through demonstrated applications for optimization. It’s worthwhile to consider the delivery model as well. I/DD software training works best when led by providers in conjunction with specialists who know the software well.
Need for increased support:Finally, to realize the full value of EHR training, I/DD service providers need leadership buy-in. Establishing educational support from the top down can have a significant impact. A study published in JMIR Formative Research found that the educational support of an institution is one of the crucial elements for the successful adoption of healthcare EHRs. Overcoming resistance from staff who feel more comfortable with legacy systems requires a broad-scale shift in culture. Healthcare IT News cites Mike Davis, co-creator of HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model, who explains that “organizations that succeed have cultures that want to ensure they’re doing what they can to optimize EHR use.”
With a shortage of direct support professionals (DSPs), as well as significant turnover ratios, I/DD service providers may struggle with getting and keeping trained staff. Or DSPs may not speak English as a first language, which can make it difficult to learn new technology. Some staff members may also feel embarrassed about not being familiar with the EHR. Organizations that want to ensure a successful EHR implementation must also consider these factors when it comes to training.
Tips for Behavioral Health EHR Training
As your organization prepares for EHR implementation, keep these tips in mind to ensure effective training:
Address the user’s basic literacy skills:Your staff may not have the same level of literacy, so it’s important to make sure they are getting the right amount of training for their current skill level.
Create training plans based on the needs and workflows of the practice’s end users:Generic training on a traditional EHR won’t yield the results your organization wants. Think about the features your staff will need to do their jobs and ensure you prioritize those workflows in their training plan.
Schedule ongoing training that rewards software competency:Frequent training helps keep staff members’ skills sharp while incentives for proficiency encourage ongoing progress. For example, providers can offer bonuses or compensation adjustment once an employee has attained the desired level of mastery. In other words, leaders can motivate staff toward EHR optimization by “evaluating everyone on his or her love of change,” as advocated by Tom Peter in his classic Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution.
Turn quick learners into super users:These team members can provide training to other staff members and help support those who may be struggling to learn the system.
Software for the IDD Provider: How the Right Choice Aids Success
The right intellectual disability software combined with effective training should make it easier for your staff to optimize their EHR use for better outcomes. Core Solutions’ Cx360 EHR aids the training experience to position practices for success by including:
Templated software workflows and performance dashboards customized to the needs and priorities of users by role.This feature ensures that the right information is available at the right time and an intuitive user experience. For example, care managers and DSPs can complete assessments, build service plans, and generate task lists automatically with timely prompts. Billing staff can use workflows that ensure clean claims submission and can immediately access financial KPIs on their dashboards.
Modular design.Roll-out and peer-to-peer learning is made easier since the technology operates on the same design. A direct service provider, for example, can feel confident that their experience as a user will be relatively consistent regardless of where they use the platform.
Ongoing vendor support.Because Core Solutions is experienced with training and implementation in I/DD service settings, they know how to guide an effective training program that reflects the service setting and partner with leadership on managing successful rollouts and use.
Discover how the right training can help your organization get the most out of its IDD EHR implementation. Tour the Cx360 for IDD Service Providers to see the difference — we’d love to show you around!
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