How do I Maximize the ROI on an EHR System? Hint: “Invest in training”

Physician staff during EHR training

One of the most important activities during implementation of your EHR selection process.

It’s important to pay attention to what the vendor says about the amount of time each staff member and provider will spend in training.  Most vendors have implemented a lot more systems than the average physician or practice manager, so it’s important to listen to their suggestions.

Understand the EHR Vendor’s Training Program … Ahead of Time

Ask for an outline of the EHR training curriculum, and have it explained to you so you can match the functions of the system with the people in your organization who need the training.  For instance, I’ve had the experience with one vendor who used the term “invoice” to mean a medical claim for professional services.  It wasn’t until the trainer arrived that it became clear which staff would need training in creating “invoices” – entering data to create and sent out claims.

In another instance, at one large physician specialty practice, the administrator figured only the eight or so front desk staff needed training in the scheduling function.  But after the clinical supervisor noted all of the medical assistants also scheduled patient appointments, suddenly the list had grown to 23 people!  Fortunately, the medical group had purchased enough on-site training days to handle the increased load.

After you’ve determined who’s involved in each major function of the electronic health record system, make sure you have enough training days to cover all those staff members who need training.

Do Not Underestimate the Need for Training Providers on the EHR System

Training physicians and other provider staff on the EHR system is also critical.  While it’s a burden for most medical practices to pull professionals out of seeing patients to attend training, it is vital not to skimp on training for this group of users.  There are undoubtedly a few physicians who can read the system manual and come away with enough knowledge to begin using the system successfully, but they will be the exception rather than the rule.

EHR technology is very capable these days, but that capability means more complexity – and more ways to make mistakes or get lost in the system.  Investing the time and effort in training and practicing is one of the most important keys to realizing a strong ROI on your selected EHR system.

A successful implementation is no accident!  It requires focus and dedication on the part of both the EHR vendor and the practice.  The more preparation you have done, the better your chances of a smooth implementation period!

When you need proven expertise and performance

Jim Hook, MPH

Mr. James D. Hook has over 30 years of healthcare executive management and consulting experience in medical groups, hospitals, IPA’s, MSO’s, and other healthcare organizations.

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