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Tips on Training Staff for the EMR Jump

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Congratulations. You’ve made the decision to deploy an electronic medical record (EMR) system in your practice. This is no small undertaking. As is the case with any workflow change in a busy office, your staff are understandably nervous about the potential decrease in productivity.

Presuming your technology needs have been sorted out, the real question is this: how can my staff be prepared for the go-live moment when our practice has made a firm commitment to document all clinical notes on a daily and routine basis in the EMR system rather than on paper or some other legacy computer system? As both a developer of an EMR system and a practicing physician, I can offer a few pointers.

1. Organizational readiness starts at the top. If you as the physician do not take an interest in the deployment of the EMR system, it is unrealistic and probably a little unfair to expect your staff to do so.

2. Ease into it. You should expect with most EMR systems to have a grace period where you can gradually shift from doing a few notes per day to completing all your notes in the system.

3. Training is a worthwhile investment. Understand that your staff will probably need to train during the workday, as well as after hours.

4. Perform a dress rehearsal. Once you have completed initial training and curriculum assignments, you may want to spend a Saturday running some mock drills of patient flows.

5. Learn about process improvement. If you have the opportunity, read the book “The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox.

6. Prioritize. Decide upfront which patient charts need to actually be re-created in electronic format and which can be archived in their paper form until they need to be recalled.

7. Develop a process and communications plan. Have a plan for how you are going to process documents and pathology reports as well as sensitive information.

8. Be patient. As with any change, you need to understand and accept that you will not get everything right on the first try.


 

bio-sayedTo read the full article by Tim A. Sayed, MD, MBA, Modernizing Medicine’s Medical Director of EMA Plastic Surgery and EMA Cosmetic, please visit Modern Aesthetics.