Simulation Training May Boost EHR Adoption

Implementing a new technology such as electronic health records (EHRs) may cause some anxieties among the staff that must be able to use it proficiently and often in a short amount of time. Effective training and education of the system will go a long ways in improving the way staff feel about the technology let alone using it in their daily work. Learning styles vary from person to person. Some learn quickly with simple reading; others are more visual; and some like the hands-on approach. Whatever the method, it needs to be effective to improve the confidence of the user of the technology.

Simulation training puts all of the above into practice using “role-based simulators.” Achieving meaningful use of electronic health records also implies that physicians and other appropriate personnel know how to use the system proficiently. What better way to safely teach the EHR system without having to worry about mistakes?

“Simulation provides an opportunity to practice in a real-life environment without real-life risks and consequences. Caregivers learn in their actual EMR application…They only learn tasks that are applicable to their role” (2012).

It is often assumed that intuitiveness is built-in to people and/or systems. This assumption can create problems when it comes to those who learn differently or even at a slower pace. Education and training of the EHR system should be a priority from the beginning to go-live and beyond. Also, it is good to recognize that too much information at once can be problematic. Learning can take place incrementally with hands-on reinforcement to improve effective use. Creating timelines or schedules for update training will help keep physicians and staff practicing efficient and effective use of the electronic health record.

Lessons learned:

• Role-based simulators are a viable method of teaching an EHR system.
• Make education a priority to improve effective use of the EHR system.
• Define the appropriate tasks for the appropriate job.
• Be cognizant of different learning styles to improve EHR adoption success.
• Improve EHR proficiencies with hands-on approaches.

Haugen, H. (2012, Apr.).The advantages of simulation training. Health Information Technology, 33, (4); 10-12. Retrieved from July 25, 2012.