When it comes to training for EHR implementations at large health systems, the logistics involved with rolling out new technology (or even updates) is enough to push even detail-oriented folks over the edge. Securing physical space, attendance and qualified trainers to ensure all clinical and administrative staff are appropriately trained to support new healthcare IT is a lot of work. Consider, then, the incredible benefits of employing digital learning to support EHR implementation. Not only are modern employees more accustomed to dynamic media such as videos for e-learning, but there are several other key benefits to this approach that will make hospital executives applaud. Let’s consider a few of these advantages for digital learning in healthcare.
#1: Digital Learning is Cost Effective
The budget associated with EHR training is an area of the implementation project plan that is often subject to push back...usually from those who have yet to experience the fallout of a poorly-planned training effort. Knowing that cost is always an element of concern for health systems trying to leverage new technology; it’s worth noting the effectiveness of EHR digital learning to help reduce budget. While the actual production and preparation of training materials may be slightly higher on the front end, the delivery and execution of the e-learning modules is far more streamlined and requires fewer resources than traditional classroom training.
Classroom Training isn’t Dead
While we absolutely sing the praises of digital learning, especially for large organizations with a lot of busy clinical staff, it’s worth remembering that classroom training should still be leveraged. If the perception of the EHR implementation or looming new technology is extremely negative, it may backfire for hospital administrators to offer a less personal touchpoint for a step as important as training. Live trainers are harder to ignore or shut off, versus video. It’s also vital to ensure that all resources have adequate access to the material, so for less tech savvy users who may struggle with the self-service approach of e-learning resources, offering a limited classroom training option may help health systems best serve their full employee base.
#2: E-Learning for EHR Training is Scalable
Another powerful aspect of the digital learning approach to EHR training is the ability for the training curriculum to scale. Whereas arranging for full-blown classroom training for a large user base is cumbersome and logistically challenging (especially when coupled with competing clinical responsibilities and schedules), rolling out a one-and-done e-learning module is a limited effort for unlimited payoff. Clinical staff can interact with the material at their convenience, as often as needed, and staff turnover is no longer a source of grief (at least not on the EHR training front).
Let's repeat again: staff can interact with the training material as often as needed. This is a big deal! Very often, training sessions are packing a lot of information into a single, hefty session. Digital learning, on the other hand, generally consists of fewer, shorter videos or modules, allowing users to revisit areas of interest or functionality with which they’re struggling. Even if you plan to offer at-the-elbow support during go-live (which we highly recommend!), providing the opportunity for trainees to circle back on the breadth of information presented during EHR training as needed is a huge benefit for scaling and encouraging mastery.
#3: Digital Learning Curriculum Provides Consistency and Accountability
Perhaps a more rarely considered benefit of the EHR digital learning approach is the ability to present the training material consistently. Without a variety of trainers and styles, hospitals can eliminate the kind of variance that may result in inconsistent readiness amongst users. This also paves the way for accountability for all end users; administrators know that everyone received the same information, and therefore gaps can be isolated to resources or departments that may simply need additional help (versus a systemic problem with the training as a whole).
Utilizing a fixed approach to training also creates a fair opportunity to measure mastery of the EHR functionality. In traditional classroom training approaches, we’ve heard that performance outcomes (of users) varies quite a bit, resulting in a slower launch. When every resource receives consistent information (and access to that information), however, monitoring aptitude via tests and quizzes becomes a fair standard for intercepting areas of concern before scheduled go-live.