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As healthcare systems expand and grow, so does the need to find better solutions to help cut the costs of training and expanding their electronic record system (EHR). There has been a substantial shift in the acquisition of smaller facilities by larger ones that use different EHR systems. Many times these smaller facilities lie in rural areas and are not localized to the main hospital, making it a challenge to accommodate training and the expense of travel for training. This has led to organizations looking at better EHR training solutions such as e-learning or virtual training (VT) programs to cut costs and maintain the quality of training needed.

Over the last eight months, I have closely worked with one of Optimum’s clients in developing and training within a virtual training environment. The process has been eye-opening and of course, trial and error for what will work best for the facility. This client has acquired two smaller facilities that are 1 – 1.5 hours, one way, from the main hospital. For training of their Epic system, either the trainers travel this time to the remote facilities and back, stay overnight in hotels during the week, or the nurses from the remote facilities have to make the trip to the main campus for training. With the turnover in one of the outlying hospitals, their leadership team requested that a plan be devised to cut down on any travel time (as they are not reimbursed mileage or drive time) and find a way to train using the main campuses trainers remotely.

“Where do you start?” The first thing that had to be determined was what applications could best utilize a virtual training model. It was determined that Inpatient Nursing and ED Nursing would be the main areas of focus as this is where 90% of the new hires are. This will change from system to system based on needs. After determining our target applications, we then had to establish a platform to use for virtual training. There are a vast number of different virtual programs to make this happen. Those that we looked into for this project were Go To Training, Web-Ex, and Skype. Things that needed to be taken into consideration included the expense for licensing, the usability of the program, efficiency, and features available for effective training. Second, we had to determine what hardware was needed. Decisions needed to be made as to whether VDI or PC set up would work best with the platform the system purchased. There is much testing that needs to occur to make this decision.

After getting the hardware in place, the determination was made about how/if the curriculum needed to be changed to accommodate. A decision was made that the content of the curriculum didn’t need to change, but the method of presentation did. Primarily, this client uses PowerPoint presentations for a lecture; there was no instruction following along with the trainer in the Epic System before an end-user was practicing on their own with the exercise book. Feedback from evaluations indicated that the process needed to change to make the sessions easier to follow along, be more interactive, and clearly outline the exercises that needed completing. Another change made was creating an electronic End-User Proficiency Assessments (EUPA) through the VT platform as well as an after-class evaluation to eliminate the need for paper and to have fast EUPA results for quick remediation.

Lastly, a decision needed to be made about what personnel was required to be utilized to make this effort effective. How would technical issues be handled if the trainer was not onsite? How would end-user questions or concerns with following along be addressed? Through testing and reaching out to other organizations, we found that a “classroom coach” was needed in the room. There are several options for the personnel in the room and how they assist the virtual trainer. Our Optimum team can assist you in determining the best approach for your organization.

SUCCESS!  After months of testing and training, we have successfully implemented a virtual training program for this client. We currently are training two of their locations, one of which is the main campus. There are still improvements that are made weekly to make sure the success of the program continues, but our client is happy with the progress and implementation of the program.

Optimum Healthcare IT has proven methods for implementing Virtual Training and E-learnings that allow your organization to provide the best possible training in the most efficient matter.  We would love to partner with you to meet your needs. Click here to learn more about our Training Services.

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