What good is a tool if you don’t know how to use it?
If you’ve purchased or considered purchasing an EHR for your behavioral health practice, you likely have specific outcomes in mind. Perhaps you want an EHR to make your workflow more efficient, help keep your billing organized, or get a better handle on your KPIs. These are fantastic goals that an EHR can support—if you know how to use it.
Even the smartest software can’t live up to its potential if you don’t know how to operate it. That’s where EHR training comes in. According to a 2019 study by the KLAS Arch Collaborative, EHR training increases the odds that a healthcare organization will be satisfied with its EHR system.
Here’s what that training might look like, and why it’s important for your practice.
Why training staff for EHR implementation is crucial for your practice
If you purchase a new software but skip the training step, you’ll be undermining many of the benefits you hoped to get from that EHR in the first place. Let’s look at what excellent EHR and EMR systems training can do for your behavioral health practice.
Improve staff and clinician efficiency
EHRs are designed to assume some of the burden of daily workflows. More than mere repositories for patient records, they can also help your staff:
- Manage schedules
- Communicate with patients
- Collect timely payment
- Streamline billing
- Speed the process of entering and retrieving patient records
- Expedite clinical documentation
- And more!
You can’t attain that level of efficiency if staff are guessing their way through the new system. Intuiting how to navigate an unfamiliar program can make work harder rather than easier, and your staff may overlook features that make the workflow better.
Thorough training equips everyone to use the system as efficiently as possible, so your organization can get up and running with its new processes in short order.
Improves the patient experience
Patients who feel confident in their provider and have positive interactions with the practice are more likely to stick with treatment and achieve good results. It’s harder to forge that connection if the processes at your office are frustrating for patients, or if they sense that staff are fumbling to manage the office.
When you or your staff can’t quickly and competently walk through your workflow, it can cause many problems for patients.
- They may have trouble scheduling appointments, and could simply stop scheduling follow-ups.
- Paying bills may be a chore.
- Patients may not easily be able to contact clinicians or staff in case of mental health emergencies.
- Prescription refills can take more time.
- Receiving and completing therapy “homework” or outcome measures can become a logistical hassle.
- Baffling telehealth technology can present a serious barrier to treatment.
Training everyone at your practice in the use of your EHR has the potential to make each of those processes run like a well-oiled machine. Your patients will be more confident in your abilities and more likely to stick around and complete treatment.
Treatment documentation, record-keeping, and billing are complex processes that must be completed correctly. Staff who know exactly how to use their EHR well will be better able to protect patient data and help the practice maintain compliance.
They’ll also understand how to quickly and thoroughly gather relevant material in the event of a legal dispute or audit.
Best practices for EHR implementation training
Implementation training will likely involve a representative from the EHR vendor as well as digital resources – such as videos and online knowledgebases – that staff can access later to fill in knowledge gaps and answer questions.
However you decide to approach training, here are some best practices that can help you get the results you want.
Training by role
Some practices choose to train users only on the aspects of the EHR that they will interact with daily, rather than training everyone in all EHR functionalities. This model calls for different training modules to be developed for different employee groups.
This may be a more efficient approach if you must train a large number of people whose roles don’t overlap.
In this instance, you’ll still need a core group of employees who know the system in its entirety and can help others. More on that below.
One of the keys to efficient leadership is knowing when to delegate. You can delegate some EHR training tasks to super-users.
Super-users are members of your staff who are expertly trained in every aspect of the EHR. They not only know how to use all of its important features, but they understand how this EHR is meant to shape the workflow of your particular practice. This equips them to walk others through the training, and they can act as go-to guides for questions.
Training for Processes
Some practices choose to approach training not by the employee’s role in the company, but by common processes that need to be carried out within the software. Some common processes include creating and submitting bills, maintaining patient records, accepting payment, treatment documentation, and managing new patient inquiries.
If your employees’ roles tend to have some overlap, training for processes may be a better fit than training by role.
Treatment sessions aren’t the only functions that moved online during the pandemic. Depending on the number of employees on-site vs those who work remotely, you might choose to host a 100 percent virtual training. This will require screen-sharing technology, a feature offered by many common systems for online conferences.
Some practices choose to continue their virtual training space as a place to handle questions and trouble-shooting.
How Valant supports your EHR training
Considering Valant for your practice management needs? We offer world-class support to help you and your staff implement our software.
- We get to know your practice and its needs. This includes familiarizing ourselves with your workflow and goals. We can customize the implementation of your software to meet those goals.
- You’ll have a dedicated Valant representative. You will be matched to an implementation manager. Think of them as your EHR training specialist, someone you can always reach out to with questions. This person will act as the “project manager” to get you and your staff comfortable with the product.
- Our implementation managers are behavioral health experts. Valant was built by behavioral health providers, for behavioral health providers. We know how critical it is for our trainers to understand the behavioral health world.
- You’ll get live training. Valant will provide you and your team members personalized training to make sure you get the most out of your new EHR.
- Resources after training. Valant’s support doesn’t end with the last training session. We also have e-learning modules, sandbox accounts, and a large library of knowledge on different aspects of the software that you can access yourself at any time. The Valant team will check in with you periodically to see if the software is meeting your needs.
Your success is our success, and we’ll do everything possible to help you and your employees use this powerful tool to your benefit.
Contact Valant today to schedule a demo or learn more about the onboarding process.