How to Get Nurses on Board the EHR Train

By Deborah Canfield, RN, for HealthLeaders Media , December 14, 2010

4. Recruit super users
Hospitals, of course, cannot afford to engage vendors on site indefinitely. To fill the gap, Newark Beth Israel identified and recruited a dozen “super users” to help peers use the EHR after the vendor’s departure. There is at least one super user on every shift at the ED, which is staffed by 95 nurses and is one of the state’s busiest EDs by patient volume.

Identifying super users is not difficult; they stand out because they love to teach, are computer savvy, and enjoy helping peers. At Saint Barnabas, super users—who receive additional training—help the organization promote the EHR in two ways. First, they show their peers the benefits of using the technology. Second, they train new employees to use the system, which usually consists of less than four hours during the orientation period.

5. Keep training intimate and timely
Organizations also should pay attention to class size and the timing of when to train users prior to go-live. At Saint Barnabas, we limited the size of our training classes to 10 people and scheduled training in a test environment 14 days before activating our ED EHR. Keeping the classes small and the training period close to the implementation date ensures a successful adoption of the EHR.

The Results
Following these simple steps made the EHR transitions at Union and Newark Beth Israel seamless and nearly painless. ED nurses at Newark Beth Israel were grateful for being able to document and find the information they need at the bedside. The EHR has made their lives easier by reducing time spent on administrative tasks, eliminating duplicate order entry, and dramatically improving turnaround time for lab results.

Deborah Canfield, RN, is the manager of nursing informatics for East Orange General Hospital. She worked in the emergency departments at Saint Barnabas HealthCare System for 13 years.

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1 comments on "How to Get Nurses on Board the EHR Train"

kit (12/28/2010 at 2:38 PM)
Good article. I think that an RN-informatician should be added to any hospital above 150 beds. In addition, 24/7 super user support is needed for longer interval than many vendors provide. Finally, a hospital blog should be dedicated to real world insights on IT integration; Three questions for the author/informaticians Does ANIA/AMIA have data on the number of RN-informaticians that we have? Are these nursing informatics programs capitalized like the med informatics groups? What programs lead to the most innovative thinking? (ie. Purdue or Baltimore are two that come to mind)




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