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As Department Managers, you have sat in on many meetings, given your input on the changes facing the health system and you have just been informed of the implementation of your new EMR, now what?  What role do you play in this implementation?  While you will continue to sit in on many steering committee meetings, role workflow meetings, system build meetings, one of the largest roles you have during implementation is engaging your staff in training and making sure they are as prepared for Go-Live as possible. This is often easier said than done.  So what exactly can you do to ensure each person’s success?

The first challenge is scheduling your staff for their training.  During a time when under staffing and higher census numbers are drastically affecting the ability to get staff proper training, it is crucial to make training a priority for your staff members.  A key tool for successfully enrolling all staff in the proper training is to review the course catalog for the duration of the training that each role you manage will need.  Enrolling your staff in the wrong class takes time away from patient care and could take time away from other leadership duties you have to focus on rescheduling their needs.

Next, conduct staff meetings that are positive for the new implementation and EMR; your staff will reflect the leadership and enthusiasm you express.  Explain to employees the exciting things that you learn in the steering and build meetings that you know will help save them time in patient documentation and care.  Documentation to meet compliance is already a very tedious task for caregivers, so hearing how their job is going to be quicker will encourage them in accepting the new EMR.

Once all staff is scheduled, it feels like a huge burden has been lifted, but that is just the beginning of the training journey.  The hardest step as a manager in the training process is getting everyone to attend class and especially for those that have multiple classes, which must be taken in succession, and to allow time to engage in the playground post-training.  Many managers, especially those in fast-paced departments such as the Emergency Department, have requested their staff members to complete a scavenger hunt.  The manager will as the training team to put together exercises that engage the end-user post Go Live in completing various workflow-based exercises to encourage memory of functionality and tools of tasks they learned in training.  This leads to a more successful transition during Go Live.  Identify those on your unit that you know will have the most difficulty and ensure they have more than enough time to practice and be sure during Go Live, they get the extra attention they need to remain calm during patient care.

The last step to ensuring a successful Go-Live for your department is to identify and engage Super Users.  Super Users are those who are always positive, understand workflows, protocols, and policies of your unit in depth.  They will act as cheerleaders not only during Go-Live but they will be heavily relied on by the trainers to bring insight into the classroom about how the new EMR will be an advantage to the team. They are easily able to correlate how current practices will be transitioned into the electronic record.  It is imperative that they not only complete their own individual training but that you as a manager are able to allow them the opportunity to be in the classrooms during the end-user training sessions to see the information more than once and be able to assist. Oftentimes, due to staffing shortages, super users are unable to observe additional classes and this thwarts efforts at Go-Live of a cohesive transition.

Converting to a new EMR always brings anxiety, fear, frustrations, but you can make these obstacles easy to conquer by following the training plan and reaching out to the training manager and training team to coordinate the best scenarios for getting your staff in classes and keeping them engaged to prepare them for your new EMR Implementation.

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