Engage Users for Effective EHR Training

As a training specialist with over 20 Cerner Go-Lives under my belt, I have worked with thousands of individuals in healthcare organizations to ensure they were trained and ready to transition to a new electronic health records solution. And not surprisingly, I have encountered some reluctant students over the years. Some healthcare professionals claim to be too busy or distracted to engage in their requisite training, while others are openly resistant to the new system and even disruptive around other users.
Sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle, but my job is to adapt and earn the trust and confidence of all of my students. Below are some of my tips for creating effective learning environments, including three fundamentals that guide me in every training assignment.
Engage End Users
Long lectures don't cut it. Training end users on a new EHR needs to be an interactive process to ensure that students pay attention and actively remember the training content. A mentally checked-out student is essentially the same as someone who was never trained at all.
Here are three tips to help increase engagement.
Make it relevant. Be clear about what’s expected in the class and which topics will be discussed. Use relevant examples and ensure that everything is applicable to your end users. Explain why the end users need to know something. If your usual examples aren’t relevant, then adapt them and discuss how they could still be relevant.
Encourage participation. Use ice breakers or discussion topics to encourage people to speak up. Once end users speak in front of the group, they’re more likely to continue participating during the class. Ice breakers can also give moments of levity and comradery among participants, which helps soothe anxiety they’re experiencing about the class. I like to ask for recommendations for places to eat or things to do in the area. This provides a lot of room for discussion, as people chime in to agree with one suggestion or to provide another –and it gives me an extensive list of places that I can visit during my free time.
Ask questions. Encourage end users to add their experiences to the lesson, ask open-ended questions, or prompt other students to share. I like to use this as a way to transition to a new aspect of the lesson. For example, before teaching where documentation is stored and how to properly utilize the tools in that area of the chart, I ask end users how to access the most recent physician note. Typically there’s a brief pause before end users start clicking around. I get both correct and incorrect answers, but either way I get end users engaged and invested in the lesson. However, don’t put end users on the spot if they are clearly uncomfortable, and don’t call on students who seem distracted. Instead, approach these students during a break to access their comfort with the material and/or discover the source of the distraction.