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How to Create an EHR Training Program that Prevents Physician Burnout: Part I

By Sedona Learning Solutions February 15, 2020
Curriculum Design eLearning Physician

Part 1: Program Design

It’s no secret that physician burnout is a real problem when it comes to EHR implementation. Physicians complete many years of education so they can practice medicine, not work in IT systems. But, as the majority of hospitals and health systems have transitioned to electronic health records, physicians must learn to do both.

A 2019 analysis [https://www.medicaleconomics.com/news/physicians-need-better-ehr-training-study-finds] published in Applied Clinical Informatics found that the single greatest predictor of user experience is the quality of training they received, regardless of the system in use. By improving the way they conduct training during the EHR implementation process, healthcare organizations can set up physicians for greater success and satisfaction with the technology.

What’s Wrong with the Current Approach?

Before updating your EHR training process, it’s important to understand why it doesn’t currently hit the mark. Often, a hospital partners with a consulting firm that sends in a large team to lead lengthy, intensive classroom and one-on-one sessions with EHR users. Ultimately, this benefits the consultants more than the providers, who realize few benefits from the setup.

Here’s why this approach leads to burnout:

It doesn’t facilitate information retention.

Requiring physicians to sit in on intensive training sessions can result in information overload. They don’t have enough time or space to fully absorb the details of using the system, which means they can feel unprepared when it comes time to actually make the transition. In fact, according to research shared in Rob Brinkerhoff’s 2006 book Telling Training’s Story: Evaluation Made Simple, Credible, and Effective, when trainers focus most of their attention on a singular education event or microlearning tool, they lose 70% of their investment in user outcomes.

It takes up too much time.

If physicians have to spend 8 hours of their week in EHR training, that’s 8 hours they’re not spending with patients, which can result in poorer care, lower patient satisfaction, and lost revenue. This type of training can also be cumbersome for the hospital to coordinate, requiring involvement from multiple departments. It’s a significant endeavor with not enough ROI.

It’s not flexible enough.

By limiting EHR training options to classroom and one-on-one sessions, hospitals don’t allow physicians to learn in the best way for them. This can have a negative impact on morale and deter users from even attending scheduled training.

Is Micro-learning the answer?

A lot of attention is being given to Micro-learning these days. Sedona Learning incorporates micro-learning so physicians have the flexibility to learn when and where they want.  However, our main focus is outcomes.  Be cautious of a micro-learning sales pitch that singles out the approach as the answer.  Things that sound too good to be true typically are–

Keys to Customized EHR Training

To create EHR training programs that combat physician burnout, hospitals and health systems need to make customization a cornerstone of their efforts. It’s important that each component of the program focuses on reducing complexities and making physicians’ lives easier.

Below are three keys to creating a customized EHR training program that works for everyone.

1. Just Enough

Too much information in one sitting is a bad thing, so you’ll want to shorten your classroom time and supplement with eLearning tools that physicians can use to study before and after the sessions in bite-sized, or microlearning pieces. This ensures they receive “just enough” instruction that they feel prepared, but not overwhelmed.

2. Just for Me

Remember, EHR users only really care and need to know about features and functions that pertain to their specific roles. Don’t spend time on an overview of all the possible system uses because most physicians won’t engage with all of them. Instead, a customized program provides specific scenarios in which each physician will need to work in the system.  Incorporating facility specific workflows and best practices further makes the training relevant and meaningful

3. Just in Time

Physicians need the flexibility to learn when, where, and at the pace they want, rather than being confined to a specific date, time, and place. We recommend providing eLearning materials that cover system basics at the onset of training, then follow-up with a short classroom or one-on-one experience that reviews and builds on the information with each physician’s specialty being the focus. Following the in-person sessions, ensure physicians have quick access to online refresher tools they can reference as additional questions arise.  These refresher tools need to be accessible right from within the software.

What’s Next?

Once you’ve established the guideposts of your EHR training program, the next step is to implement it. That’s what we discuss in Part 2 of this blog post   — check it out to learn how to put your training plan into action.

– coming soon

Author:  Sedona Learning Solutions and Santa Rosa Consulting