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e-Learning Gift Card – Black Friday Promo

Posted on November 29, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.


4med_masthead2 (1) (600x76).jpg     BLACK FRIDAY PROMOTION  

    

 

Beginning Wednesday November 27 through Sunday December 1, 2013, Healthcare Scene is offering 4MedTraining E-learning Gift Cards at 40% OFF with this special BLACK FRIDAY coupon code: HEALTHCARE40

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Continuous Inspiration, Training, and Improvement

Posted on May 1, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today, I’m about ready to embark on a fun experience. No, I’m not heading to TEDMED or HIMSS or some other conference chalk full of inspiration, training, and improvement. Instead of me leaving somewhere, my wife is heading off with her two best girlfriends to a Women’s Conference which should be an amazing mix of practical, spiritual, and inspirational.

I’m really excited for her to have the opportunity that I get regularly to improve myself and expand my mind. My wife is a brave stay at home mom. She does a tremendous job raising our four children. However, as any stay at home mom can attest, sometimes you need to get out, have conversations with adults, and be something other than mom. I’m excited for the renewal that she’s sure to find from attending this Women’s Conference.

As I ponder on the experience my wife is about to have, I think many in the EHR and healthcare IT world need something very similar. Far too often we get overwhelmed by the little day to day heartache of using an EMR. The EMR that “never works” can be a real drag. The EHR popup message that does’t make any sense. The annoying extra click in your EMR. Even just the tedious repetition of documentation. All of these things are little until you deal with them day after day and patient after patient. Sounds a bit like a mother having to feed the children, pickup the toys, brush the hair, etc over and over again. Individually it’s nothing, but taken together can be overwhelming.

One of the best ways to deal with what I’ll call EMR depression is to have regular opportunities for inspiration, training and improvement. One method to deal with it can be regular meetings focused not on the challenges of EMR, but instead on the ways EMR can make your life and patients’ lives better. You can share stories of EMR success and even possible lives saved. It’s not unlike me sitting down with my wife discussing the beautiful things our children do. It’s so easy to focus on the negative that we often forget to talk about the positive.

Another way is to head to a conference that will inspire you about what’s possible. It’s amazing what an inspiring speaker can do to change how you enjoy your work. Sure, it’s great to go to a session talking about the tactical details of meaningful use. However, you also want to make time to hear from someone like Dr. Jen Brull who can tell you her practical approach to improving the health of her patients. There’s nothing more inspiring than hearing her story and then seeing the face of the patient whose life she saved. There’s a time for tactical, but it can’t crowd out the inspirational. In some cases you can even get both. I hope that’s what happens for my wife this week.

Yes, for those reading between the lines, my wife attending this conference means for the next 5 days I’m going to be home alone caring for my 4 children (age 9 months to 9 years). A daunting task for anybody. However, it turns out the next 5 days with my children will be the best form of inspiration for me. In my whirlwind life of blog posts, tweets, conferences, emails, comments, interviews, and meetings, my best inspiration to do what I do can be the innocent laugh of my 9 month old, the funny phrases of my 3 year old, the inquisitive questioning of my 6 year old, and the creativity of my 9 year old. Yes, inspiration is all around us if we take the time to be inspired.

Helping doctors adapt to EMRs

Posted on May 8, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Much ink has been spilled discussing why physicians are resistant to adopting EMRs.

The thing is, it’s really no mystery.  Researchers have arrived at what seem like sensible answers to the question, including a) problems changing their work habits, b) fear of the unknown and c) struggles with kludgy interfaces.

So, why not take these problems on directly? While we can’t get inside clinicians’ heads and tell them how to think, we can address their issues concretely.

If the anecdotes I hear are accurate, many are pushed into EMR use and forced to do all the adapting, rather than getting the help they need.

So how can we help?

Obviously, physicians and other clinical staffers need access to accessible, intelligent training — ideally, both Web-based and live — as well as easy-to-use documentation that’s written in very simple language.

But that’s not all. While many institutions breeze by this step, IT departments (or consultants) should do everything they can to customize the EMR experience for individual clinicians. (If your EMR is too rigid to allow for this, that’s another story, but let’s pray you have one with some flexibility built in.)

It’s also important to pinpoint what other frustrations clinicians may have. For example, some doctors who type poorly are immensely frustrated by using EMRs, something keyboard-savvy techs might never consider.  A good old-fashioned typing course might work wonders in those cases.

In the rush to deal with the complex technical issues involved in EMR integration, it’s easy to blow by the needs of individual users.  It’s even easier to throw some fragmentary training at clinicians and assume they have a bad attitude if it doesn’t “take.”

The truth is, though, that nobody can afford to be short-sighted about getting users connected to EMRs.  Let’s hope everyone bears this in mind as the main wave of rollouts begins.

Aprima EMR’s Learning Management System

Posted on March 10, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

During a meeting I held with the CEO of Aprima (previously iMedica), it came out that Aprima has created a learning management system for users of the Aprima EMR system. Ok, before you stop reading, hear me out.

Sure, every EMR vendor has some sort of online help or learning system by now. What I found interesting about the Aprima EMR learning management system is that it actually graded the doctors on what they learned.

Ok, doctors might hate to hear that they’re being graded, but that’s kind of missing the point. There’s a number of reasons why grading a doctor’s (or I guess other staff too) comprehension of the online learning is important.

First, is that it gives the EMR vendor an idea of how well the practice has actually learned the training. We all know that it’s one thing to go through a training and another to really learn what’s being taught. Second, based on the number of times the user had to retake the “test” you can gain a decent idea of how quickly that person is able to pick up technical concepts.

Plus, I think this type of testing can also provide the EMR vendor some feedback as to which trainings need to be improved. If everyone fails the prescribing module, then maybe you need to improve the product or improve the training that’s being given.

Finally, having a learning management system like this in place could also extend to training doctors on how using that EMR can help you meet the meaningful use guidelines required to receive the EMR stimulus money. Yes, pretty much everything has to come back to meaningful use, doesn’t it?

I’m not sure that Aprima has taken their learning management system this far, but it sounds like they’re heading down some of these paths.

Another quick side note from my visit with the CEO of Aprima was their “Take a Tablet” program that let’s doctors take a tablet to play with during the sales cycle. Basically, they want the doctor to learn to be comfortable using a tablet for other things so that using the EMR on the tablet will be natural as well. Pretty interesting way to “train” the doctors on the tablet technology.

EMR Implementation Training and Computer Training

Posted on August 5, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

When someone comes to my clinic to see our EMR implementation, they always ask “what lessons did you learn during your EMR implementation?” It’s inevitable, and obviously a good question. One of the answers I give the most is that I was surprised at how much of the initial training was on basic computers skills and not actual EMR software training.

On that note, I got an email from Michael Archuleta of ArcSys Inc. that described some of the challenges of training before an EMR implementation including training on some of the new technologies (see tablet, convertible, laptop and EMR discussion) that might be implemented with an EMR.

First, no two medical professionals are alike. They have been taught differently and see things through different lens.

Second, people have different computer skills. Some are very adept at tackling new technology, and others are easily intimidated.

Third, the flow of work or processes differs markedly from one group to another.

Regarding observation #1: People are best trained one-on-one. Each has their own terminology and it is best to talk the same “language” of medicine.

Regarding observation #2: The doctors and medical staff are best trained on desktop computers. They are, for the most part, familiar with the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. The hand-eye coordination is a known entity. In particular, knowing how to page up or down from the keyboard. Or, how to move the cursor back and forth across a line using the arrow keys. The monitors are large and they are accustomed to how things look. They are familiar with the location of icons on the desktop. They know how to start up applications and how to close down the pc. Thus, it becomes a really good idea to understand how the application works on hardware that you know. Once you are comfortable with the application, then you can advance to new hardware.

Now, contrast this with a tablet pc. The keyboard is smaller and this usually results in hunting for the location of familiar edit keys like page up, page down, arrows, end, and home. If you are trying to learn a new application and a new keyboard layout, your frustration will skyrocket.

The monitor is smaller. You are going to be spending more time squinting. It may be time to invest some time with the eye doctor and get some new corrective lenses. Again, if you are familiar with the application, you will not be visually hunting for tiny icons.

When using a laptop you will have to use either the touchpad, eraser head, or pen for your mouse. All three require an amazing amount of finger dexterity. If you can recall your initial learning curve with the mouse, multiply that by 10 and you will have an idea of what it will be like to re-learn your mousing skills with this new technology. My recommendation would be to get a regular mouse and plug it in the USB port. It is messy with an extra cord, but is one less thing to learn. Better yet, get a wireless mouse. But, then that is also one more piece of technology…

The desktop of the tablet pc will have different icons. It is a good idea to eliminate as many as reasonable. The hard part of any laptop is knowing how to configure it. A laptop is designed to work off of batteries and thus needs to conserve energy. It will go to “dim mode” when it senses the batteries are losing their charge. It will go to “blank mode” when it decides that you haven’t touched the keyboard in a long time. What you need to know is how to bring it back to life in these (and other) circumstances. Because of these types of quirks, if you are not familiar with the application, you will become extremely frustrated and discouraged.

Regarding observation #3: Baby steps. Implement only one automated procedure at a time. Don’t flood everyone with all the bells and whistles. Make certain that everyone understands a new automated procedure before launching the next one.

My Least Favorite EMR Vendor Sales Line

Posted on May 26, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

A feature of every EMR vendor is a whole multitude of sales lines. If you’ve ever talked to a EMR sales person, you know what I’m talking about. This isn’t really unique to EMR sales. The same can be said of most software that’s trying to solve complex problems.

Well, there’s one EMR vendor sales line that gets on my nerves more than any other line. Let’s take a demo of an EMR vendor’s templates. Now here’s the line that I absolutely abhor:

“You can make it do whatever you want.”

Hearing this is like hearing fingernails on a chalkboard for me. Certainly, the intent of their comment is that the EMR template creation is really flexible (and it very well might be). However, the superlative “whatever” is just wrong. Every software system has limitations and I can guarantee you that if you really start using an EMR system you’re going to bump into those limitations.

I guess my problem is using superlatives like whatever, any, all, always, etc. is just misleading and leads to what I call EMR sales miscommunication. Anytime you hear one of those things during an EMR demo (or even during an EMR training) you better start asking lots of questions.

Of course, these superlatives do a lot better job selling EMR software. I guess that’s why I’ll never be an EMR salesperson. Maybe it’s also why people seem to like reading my EMR blog posts.

Sink or Swim After EMR Purchase

Posted on May 13, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I find it really disturbing the number of stories I read about doctors who have purchased an EMR basically being left to ‘sink or swim’ once the EMR purchase and training process is complete. This is not always the case. Some EMR companies really take a vested interest in those who purchase their EMR software. That’s my biggest compliment of the EMR company I work with on a daily basis is that they really did care about us having a successful EMR implementation. I know a number of others who are just as vested in a clinic’s success.

Unfortunately, far too many EMR vendors don’t take a vested interest in a practice and after the purchase and initial training, the practice is basically left to finish the EHR implementation on their own. Let’s take a look at a common example of what happens:
-Clinic purchases EMR software
-Clinic spends a few days training on EMR software
-Clinic sends support request which goes unanswered
-Clinic gets answer to support request a week later

It should also be noted that the few days spent with the trainer is often untargeted and aptly described as a firehouse which mostly leaves those being trained with a huge migraine. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the clinic ends up floundering along for that week they waited to get their support request answered.

Certainly supporting a new EMR implementation is a significant challenge. Many popular EMR vendors have oversold and just don’t have the trained, skilled staff that are needed to support the number of clinics they’re bringing online. That’s not an excuse for the EMR vendor. They should still be held accountable. However, it’s helpful to understand the challenges an EMR vendor faces so you can possibly avoid them.

Like I said previously, not all EMR vendors have this challenge. This being the case, it highlights the need to talk to users of any EMR software you’re considering. Ask them about the type, speed and quality of the support they receive from the company as a current user and what support they received when implementing that EMR vendor. Also, try to talk to someone who recently implemented that EMR software. Much like a new mother forgets the pains of child birth, EMR implementation pains disappear from memory (see my previous post on EMR and Pregnancy). Plus, in most EMR companies the support and training changes over time as employees come and go. The more recent the support experience the better.

At the end of the day, an EHR implementation does require a determination to ‘sink or swim.’ However, it’s much easier to swim when you have someone throwing you a line along the way.

Beware of Errors on Test or Demo EMR System

Posted on May 12, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m sure that many of my readers have experienced the awkwardness of an error happening during the demo or training of an EMR system. I’ve been on both sides of the fence (watching or doing a demo) and let’s just say it’s really uncomfortable for both sides. Those that have experienced it know that the most common explanation for the error is “This is the demo system and so we haven’t finished setting everything up.” Or in the case of the training system, “This is the training system and so with all of the people training on this system it has some errors from those training on it.”

In some cases, this is completely true. When I’m training my staff for an update to our EMR software, there has been a number of occasions where I was just too lazy to set something up on our test database and it doesn’t work quite right. So, it does happen.

The difference between myself (most of the time) and those demoing and training you on an EMR system is that I’ll make note of the problem and make sure that indeed it was something I could easily fix. If I can’t, then I escalate it to our EMR vendor for resolution before we proceed with the upgrade. Those showing you the demo or training you might do the same. However, if you’re training on the system, there’s little chance the fixes they request will be implemented before you implement the system.

Even more to the point is that far too often it’s not something to do with the test or demo system, but is often an error in the program itself. It’s a good idea to evaluate the error you saw. This can be a real challenge since the trainer is often going to blow by the error as quickly as possible. However, don’t be afraid to call them out on the error. This is going to be the heart of your practice. Make sure you really know if those errors were temporary or chronic. Nothing’s more of a pain than regular errors from your EMR software.

EMR Vendor Site Visit

Posted on May 22, 2008 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This entire week my EMR vendor had someone in our clinic going over our EMR implementation. Yes, that’s nearly 4 entire days of our health and counseling staff meeting with our EMR vendor. You can imagine after the first few meetings it’s pretty hard to keep things straight. However, this type of EMR vendor site visit is so beneficial.

The biggest benefit is that it almost forces doctors, nurses, front desk staff, lab, pharmacy, etc to sit down and think about our EMR, how it could be made better and which parts of the EMR are just causing them pains, problems, frustrations, or other discomfort. We tried to make sure that each EMR meeting went over: our current EMR challenges, features of the EMR that we aren’t using and finally discuss ideas for enhancements to the EMR software.

We’re lucky that we selected a smaller EMR vendor that’s completely focused on the college health EMR market. That means that we have a strong relationship with the EMR company. In our final meeting the EMR “trainer” said that they really are our “partner” in not just the EMR, but they’re willing to support us beyond just software. The nice thing is that our EMR vendor really does try to do this. They don’t always succeed at it, but they certainly are sincere in their effort.

Another major benefit of having someone from the EMR vendor do a site visit is that they are looking at your clinic with fresh eyes. They can see things about the way your process works that you may not see. Plus, they have usually been to hundreds of other EMR installs and so they are aware of how other clinics are using the EMR software.

Of course, you can’t expect someone from your EMR vendor to come and work miracles. In fact, many of the ideas they have just may not work for the way you practice medicine. It takes a solid filter to be able to see the benefits, problems, and workarounds that will work best for your standards of care, legal regulations, and clinical organization. The biggest problems that an EMR vendor faces is that it’s really hard to build a one size fits all EMR. Different practices act differently. However, there’s something really valuable about discussing the various options of an EMR.

I highly recommend this type of collaborative approach to working with your EMR vendor. I believe it’s paid amazing dividends for our clinic. In the end, your EMR company better be a good partner or you’ll pay the price later.

Benefits of Using an EMR/EHR Consultant – EMR Training

Posted on January 12, 2008 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Part two of our five part series on the benefits of an EMR or EHR consultant is EMR Training.

EMR Training

Using an EMR consultant’s experience in successful EMR implementations, they have a strong ability to train doctors on EMR and other related technologies. Some of this training occurs in an initial meeting where they discuss challenges related to EMR selection and implementation. EMR consultants also provide ongoing training on how to best use their EMR in their clinic. Furthermore, EMR consultants can train clinical staff on using the various technologies associated with using an EMR.

See other parts of Benefits of using an EMR/EHR Consultant:
Benefits of Using an EMR/EHR Consultant – Selection Process
Benefits of Using an EMR/EHR Consultant – EMR Training
Benefits of Using an EMR/EHR Consultant – Clinical Process Mapping
Benefits of Using an EMR/EHR Consultant – Comprehensive Technology Support
Benefits of Using an EMR/EHR Consultant – Improved Clinical Buy-in