If you’ve found the right EMR for your clinic, chances are you’ve “been there, done that” (although you probably didn’t get the t-shirt). You’ve cycled through research, demos, phone calls, and more research—all to ensure you make the best possible choice. But the decision-making process is only the beginning; the second challenge is getting your staff on board. Implementing a new EMR system might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep these five tips in mind when you are training your therapists to document electronically.

1. Pick Superhero Super Users

Identify technologically-savvy, motivated, and eager-to-learn staff members; then, give them the power to save the day by designating them as super users. When it comes to your EMR, you want these users to not only know the system, but also have a deep understanding of how your clinic operates. After all, possessing EMR expertise is useless if that expert can’t apply his or her know-how to your practice’s workflow.

Your super users should be able to teach techniques and tips to new staff members and offer refreshers to those who aren’t yet totally comfortable with the software. A word of warning: Be cognizant of the workload you impose on your staff. You still want the super users to see patients and accomplish everyday tasks. If a super user is buckling under the pressure—or if the added responsibility takes too much time out of his or her schedule—you might need to reconsider the current structure and redistribute responsibilities across a larger group of users.

2. Take Advantage of the Plan

Ask your EMR company what the training process entails. Do they offer group or one-on-one training sessions? Do they have steps in place to ensure that your EMR onboarding is a success? Be sure to use everything your vendor has to offer.

If you’re afraid your staff might zone-out during a live training, try to make it fun. Bring coffee and snacks (I don’t know about you, but I love food and caffeine) and encourage questions. Make sure you’ve allotted enough time and created a welcoming environment for you and your staff to learn the new system. This is a big change, and you took your time choosing the EMR—so demonstrate the same level of patience during the implementation process.

Pinpointing your therapists’ preferred learning style could make or break the training process. Do they want to learn from your other staff members (cue superhero super users)? Or would a live group training session be a better option? Do they need the flexibility to watch a video on their own time, after office hours?

Also, keep in mind that your staff may need refreshers every now and then. That’s precisely why WebPT implemented a learning management system that users can access at any stage of their WebPT Membership. There, you can learn about the WebPT application at any time of day—on any device—and review different functions within the EMR. You can even take quizzes to test your skills.

3. Ask for Feedback

If you don’t know where your staff is getting stuck, you can’t help them master the concepts that are tripping them up. Ask for feedback so you can adjust your approach if necessary. If a member of your staff is having trouble booking an appointment, finalizing notes, or navigating the system, give him or her the opportunity to ask for help. Set up recurring meetings to review the challenges your staff faces while using the EMR. If your clinic is far too swamped for recurring group meetings, speak with your staff one-on-one.

Once you discover the pain points, try your best to come up with a solution to foster success.

Does your EMR vendor have a support line? If so, gather your questions and give them a call.

4. Train for Function

Try to avoid training your therapists on skills that are irrelevant to their job roles. Your therapists will primarily need documentation training. However, if they manage their own schedules, they’ll probably need some instruction on the scheduling portion of the software as well.

If your front office staff isn’t treating patients, you don’t need to overburden them with learning the ins and outs of documentation. You know your clinic’s operations better than your EMR vendor does—so plan your training accordingly.

5. Stay Flexible

One training plan to rule them all isn’t going to cut it. To be on the forefront of compliance, both you and your EMR system have to adjust to regulatory changes. These adjustments might require process changes, or they might involve a little bit of self-education for you and your therapists.

If you’re a WebPT Member, you’ll see everything you need to know about system updates right on your WebPT Dashboard. This is the perfect mechanism for your superhero super users to review any new changes and help the rest of the team get up to speed on what’s new in the application. (Another way to stay at the forefront of regulatory changes: the WebPT Blog.) If your job depends on ever-evolving technology, you can’t let yourself (or your team) get rusty.

Your EMR should make documentation easy, and as a clinic owner or operator, you have the power to make EMR adoption easier on your staff. Be prepared, make a plan, and be willing to change that plan as regulations shift. Because when it comes to EMR training, the “how” is just as important—if not more important—than the “what.”

Do you have any tried-and-true training tips? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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