EMR Training: A Practical Guide for Ambulatory Practices

After the millions of dollars spent researching and selecting a suitable EMR for your practice needs, it can be difficult to continue justifying expenses for training and implementing the new system. However, experienced research and system experts continue to advocate that adequate funding for training and implementation support is a critical factor in the success of an EMR implementation.

Whether implementing a single physician or multi-physician practice, these basic fundamentals should not be overlooked when planning for the maximum success and ROI from your EMR investment.

Defining the purpose.

Focus on the big picture, not just the chart in front of you, and use the big picture to motivate your office staff in a positive way. Setting and reiterating everyone’s goals on improving the way you deliver patient care will help with the daily stress of working with and learning a new system that impacts workflow. It takes a team to run a successful practice, and it will take the team’s complete buy-in to continue its success post EMR implementation.


When creating the workflow build, listen to the physicians, clinicians, and non-clinical staff explain their daily process of patient workflow on paper, and mimic workflow as closely as possible in your EMR. Discern critical information for the process, and don’t waste time with items outside the scope of the project. Keep the staff focused on the process, allowing them to voice their concerns and participate in the creation of their new workflow.

Support each role.

Staff members need to be cognizant of how each role supports and impacts the patient care experience during a visit to their office. Positive reinforcement, proper training, comfort, and belief in the system are all factors of success.

Consider training options.

Bringing on a full time training team, or bringing in consultants to guide the training process for your staff is one training option with proven success in training staff members to learn, practice, and prepare for a new EMR system. Using the abstraction process to familiarize your staff with the “new” system is a great hands-on way to allow them to get comfortable with each part of the new process.

Practice implementation days with test patients from registration through check out and charge capture also helps your staff feel comfortable with a system before truly going live. Have the trainers and system experts on site to identify, fix, or talk through any process that may need some workarounds or tweaking. These training strategies will make the first day of your go-live smoother and less stressful.

Create a support plan.

Have a support plan in place with elbow and vendor experts on site for your go-live. Consider cutting back on patient load for at least the first week of implementation to allow for time to work out and fix any issues with the system or workflows.

Think of ways to minimize stress and avoid overloading your staff, like:

  1. Morning huddles to prepare for the day
  2. Bring in lunch the first week
  3. Closing huddles to identify any issues from the day
  4. Identify “break areas” where staff may go to discuss emergent issues away from the patients. Keep chocolate on hand!
  5. Have a white board for hot topics to discuss at huddles
  6. Create tips and tricks to post near workstations

Create a partnership with your vendors, consultants, and staff. You can never over communicate, over train, or over prepare when it comes to an EMR Implementation. By setting these expectations and goals for achieving success and allowing time to understand and associate workflow changes, you will enable your staff to implement the change with purpose, pride, and success.

For more information on Divurgent’s Training Program, click here.


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