I have a quick story to tell, but first I need to introduce the following acronyms: EMR, EHR, and HITECH. Each acronym deals with the healthcare industry. EMR stands for Electronic MedicalRecord--a digital version of a patient's paper chart. An EMR can contain the complete medical and treatment history for a patient. EMRs and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The act is designed to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology.
According to MedicalRecords.com, "The government wants to shift the health industry into the digital age and has provided reimbursement incentives and an electronic medical records deadline for those who adopt electronic medical records. However, as with all government benefits, this electronic medical records mandate comes with strings attached. For those who do not meet the electronic medical records deadline for implementation, the government has laid out a series of penalties.
"For physicians who either have not adopted certified EHR / EMR systems or cannot demonstrate 'meaningful use' by the EMR deadline in 2015, Medicare reimbursements will be reduced."
To comply with the HITECH requirements, healthcare organizations are turning to EMR software. There are several vendors who create EMR software including McKesson, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, AllScripts, and Epic.
Healthcare organizations have an urgent need to get their trainers trained on the use of their selected EMR software. Those trainers will then need to go back and teach colleagues how to lead EMR classes. That's where my story begins.
I'm a professional nurse. In fact, 10 years ago I was a graduate nurse caring for inmates in a jail. When I documented something in patient charts, I used pen and paper, similar to just about everyone else in the healthcare industry.
What I couldn't imagine from my jail-house office was a decade later I would be successfully training a room full of surgeons on a new way to chart.
My journey into the classroom was as exciting as it was unexpected. One day I was a bedside nurse holding pressure on a post-angiogram patient, then I was on a plane bound for EMR training (having been told by my boss that my organization was going to convert to an EMR system... and soon).
I learned how to use the EMR software during a very intense training program and returned to work full of knowledge. It wasn't long before my boss dropped a bombshell... now that I knew the EMR software, I would be responsible for training our entire staff of internal trainers on a specific segment of the EMR software. Those trainers, in turn, would train the staff.
Great, just great. I knew how to use the EMR software, but I had zero experience as a trainer. How was I going to teach professional trainers how to teach? Did I mention I had no functional class outline or materials beyond multiple giant binders with vague scripts that couldn't possibly support a positive learning experience or provide realistic patient scenarios? To top it off, my first class was expected to be held very soon.
Do you think that I panicked? Absolutely! With little guidance or support, I meddled through and built a train the trainer class. During that initial development time, 15-hour days became the norm as I prepared for the class.
You can imagine how nervous I was as that first class began. The class was labelled a success. The training objectives were met. However, while my evaluations were good, I wasn't convinced the learners had gained enough knowledge to do their jobs confidently.
Eventually I scrapped the software vendor's suggested training format and lesson plans. I developed my own materials with visually appealing presentation files and clinically-accurate workflows. Last but not least, I revamped how I taught the class and how I engaged my learners.
After teaching the class with my revamped materials and techniques, I felt as though I transformed from drowning victim to professional swimmer. Not only was I pleased with the success of my customized approach to the training, the evaluations from the learners soared! Best of all, my lesson plans were requested andadopted by the original EMR vendor!
Over the coming weeks, I'll be sharing some of my secrets to successfully teaching colleagues how best to teach an EMR class. Along the way I'll also share some stories about what worked during EMR implementations and what didn't.
If your organization has tasked you with rolling out an EMR or EHR training program, don't panic. Check out Megan's live, online, and highly interactive Train the EMR Trainer class.