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Getting the Most From EHR Virtual Training

Author: Terri Johnson

EHR implementations have gone virtual in response to COVID. And so has training related to activations, upgrades, optimization projects, and onboarding of new clinics or staff. Healthcare organizations have traditionally trained in-person with dozens of software experts for larger efforts such as a go-live. Remote training is a big change for some. Here we will discuss how health systems can get the most out of virtual training, and when to consider it over traditional classroom or in-person training events.

The primary advantages to remote training are the convenience, flexibility, and reduced travel cost (not to mention one can train without a mask or gallons of hand sanitizer). This gives healthcare organizations more opportunities to perform training as processes are updated, regulations change or when user efficiency and adoption can be improved through training. Organizational leaders will need to compare the pros and cons of virtual training vs classroom training in context of how comprehensive the training is. While virtual training is a great option for multi-locations and segmented training, it is still not a replacement for at-the-elbow support or marathon training events.

How can health systems get the most from virtual training? Here are a few tips:

  • Record the training.

    This will allow users who are unable to attend to watch the training as a later time. This also serves as a backup for individuals who experience technical difficulties to review at a later date. Most importantly, recordings can be utilized for an ongoing training library and extends the investment.

  • Prepare users for a positive online training experience.

    Virtual training isn’t the same as in-person training, and preparing your users is critical to success whether they are attending at home or in an office.

    • Perform a ‘trial run’ to ensure everyone can access the meeting platform (Webex, Zoom, Teams)
    • Ensure that any hardware that is required for training, such as scanners, is available
    • Ensure users understand how to access the presenter without ongoing disruption to the session. This includes covering mute/unmute and chat functionality.
  • Engage your users.

    Virtual training should aim to be as interactive and hands-on as possible. Some of the tactics employed by our own trainers include:

    • Set expectations around interaction before starting the recording or turning the training over to the trainer. Let users know that you will be engaging them the same way you would in a classroom, including:
      • Asking users to create test patient accounts to follow along for hands-on training
      • Asking questions and calling on individuals to answer
      • Requesting volunteers to share their screen and perform steps for ‘hands-on’ experience
      • Preparing questions to ask users during the training to help maintain focus and assess areas where more time may be needed
    • Follow-up and make training programmatic.
      Training is ongoing. Follow-up should include documentation such as FAQs, the recording links and how a user can follow-up with additional questions.

While virtual training in itself is not a new concept, it plays a much bigger part of the overall plan for EHR users today. And it can support health system’s efforts in delivering optimization and driving adoption of new functionality moving forward.

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