Staffing: An Important Component to Successful EHR Training

As one who has been in the role of an EHR training manager for several clients, I’ve learned that one of the key challenges to a successful training initiative is how well you staff your training team.  Trying to save on staffing your training team will negatively impact your EHR implementation and likely result in higher go-live support and ongoing training costs.

I’ve learned that three critical elements in staffing your training team are:

  • Compensate well: The EHR market is very competitive. Once you “credential” your trainers, they can become hot commodities in a tight market. You don’t want to have to recruit once training begins and as you get close to go-live.
  • Build diverse / cross-over skill sets: By doing so, you invest in your trainers and build loyalty, while ensuring that you have back ups and coverage across all modules. Don’t put your eggs in one basket as they say.
  • Invest in the soft skills training (e.g., “train-the-trainer” type programs for your soon-to-be trainers): Learning how to transfer knowledge to adults in a health care IT setting is truly an art.  Even if you hire seasoned trainers, it’s good to get your team on the same page and to refresh their adult training skills.

Your trainers are also the face of your EHR project and change management facilitators. We don’t just want to teach your learners EHR functionality; we need to sell it to them. Therefore, it’s critical that they understand and convey to their learners:

  • Why are we going up on this new EHR?
  • Will this new system really improve how we provide patient care?
  • WIFFM: “What’s-in-it-for-me?”  How will this new system and the training make my life better?
  • Where do I go for help after training?
  • It’s OK to fail and to play in the system.  Learners won’t become experts upon leaving the classroom, but they should have a solid understanding and a road map for adoption.

Lastly, if you are like most EHR go-live sites, you’ll need a larger, temporary team of trainers to prepare for go-live.  Trying to cut costs by training non-EHR trainers to become EHR experts is a risky proposition.  I recommend a blended approach of seasoned and non-seasoned EHR training talent.

Don’t got it alone: Partner with and rely upon an experienced consulting /  recruiting firm to assist with the recruiting / evaluating, interview, and onboarding process. Many recruiters and consulting firms are happy to place warm bodies; few truly understand EHR training and how to place solid, experienced trainers who are a good fit for your organization and who will play a huge role in making or breaking your implementation.

–Tony Onorad, EHR Training Management Consultant