Whether your practice is a longtime user of eClinicalWorks (eCW) or preparing to make the transition to eCW, investing in education and training pays dividends in operational efficiencies, more satisfied providers and staff, and smoother patient experience. Just as clinicians are responsible for maintaining certifications and licensing, medical practice staff are responsible for staying up to date on the latest functionality of the EHR. Both contribute to the delivery of safe, efficient, high quality patient care. Drive optimal quality and efficiency at your practice with these best practices for eCW education and training during implementation, adoption, and beyond.
Assign an eCW Transition Champion
Switching to a new EHR can be disruptive to practice workflow. As such, it often builds anxiety among practice staff. Keep stress at bay by assigning a transition champion to promote the switch to eCW. This individual can be your practice administrator or a physician leader. They should make it their mission to reduce “fear of the unknown” by talking about the benefits of the new tool and how easy it is to use. eCW provides content to help the transition champion. eCW’s position-specific start-up videos are designed to be shared with each staff member prior to implementation to show how each person’s responsibilities will transition to the new system. These videos showcase how intuitive the program is and give staff members the opportunity to build a list of questions about the new program before the eCW implementation trainer arrives onsite.
Reduce Workload to Leave Ample Time to Focus on Training
Take proactive action to ensure your staff has time to focus on training while you have a dedicated implementation trainer on site. One effective approach is to rotate training times by assigning half the staff and providers to the training and half to practice responsibilities. This allows individuals in training to concentrate on training rather than working about answering the phone or seeing a patient. Another successful implementation training strategy is to book fewer patients on training days. No one likes reducing the schedule since it equates to lost revenue in the short term. However, through implementing eCW and equipping your staff and providers with the skills they need to use it effectively, you are investing in a long-term ability to see more patients more efficiently.
Role Play Crucial Patient Situations
During implementation training, effective eCW trainers will not simply dictate the functionality of eCW. Instead, they will role play crucial scenarios such as patient check in, taking the patient back to a room, and patient history collection. Practicing real-world scenarios will help your team learn by doing. We find that role playing followed by ample question and answer time with the trainer allows for the smoothest eCW implementation period.
Enter Patient Health History Information the Day Before a Patient is Scheduled
The practice entering patient information into eCW the day before their scheduled appointment is invaluable. By entering patient history prior to their visit day, you reduce the chance that you will lengthen wait times and back up provider schedules by entering the patient’s information while they wait in the lobby. Within 6 months, your practice will have all established patients’ up-to-date health histories entered in eCW, and this process can be phased out for established patients. (Pro Tip for New Patients: Use the eCW Patient Portal to build out a questionnaire that allows patients to populate preliminary health information before their visit to help speed up the check-in process).
Assign an eCW Account Manager
Since eCW is always evolving and improving, frequently rolling out software updates, new features, and product fixes, it is a best practice to have at least one person designated as an eCW Account Manager on my.eCW.com or a SuperUser. This individual will consistently review and research the website for the latest information to apply at the practice. With each update or upgrade, eCW provides easily accessible, detailed documentation, explanatory videos, and live/recorded webinars. It is undeniably worth the time to take advantage of this content to improve your practice workflow.
The Account Manager/SuperUser assigns roles within eCW and disseminates current information about eCW updates and upgrades to employees. This improves chances that teams are prepared for updates and equipped to implement new eCW features rather than forging ahead with the status quo and potentially inefficient workflows.
In practices without this assigned role, we see staff members shocked and upset when they find out they have been doing unnecessary work or that a workflow they developed outside of the typical training or protocol is now blocked due to patient safety concerns (and replaced with a more secure process).
Additionally, we have seen practices miss the opportunity participate in grants, incentive programs, or revenue from other required reporting by not having this a dedicated Account Manager or SuperUser. For example, if a practice fails to implement an update for MIPS, UDS reporting, or Medicare/Medicaid requirements, there could be a reduction in those revenue sources.
All these issues could be avoided altogether or mitigated if a dedicated Account Manager/SuperUser had updated the staff in a timely fashion, prior to an actual eCW version upgrade. If your practice does not have someone that can take on this responsibility in-house, there are eCW optimization and education experts (like us, Physician Select Management) who can serve in this role.
Take Advantage of eCW Educational Content
Maintaining an up-to-date eCW system and knowledge of that system should be a mandate for every practice. Training should not stop when the eCW trainer walks out the door. For several months after implementation, we suggest every practice have weekly meetings that bring together front office staff, nurses, and doctors to discuss what is working with eCW and what is not. Your eCW Account Manager/SuperUser can use information shared in these meetings to identify areas for improvement.
eCW Account Managers can choose to take a more general or more structured ongoing training approach. The more general approach is for the Account Manager to review all educational content provided by eClinicalWorks and make staff and providers aware of the content. Another, more structured approach is to track provider and staff training on an ongoing basis by assigning relevant eCW University courses to specific providers and staff members and tracking each team member’s completion of assigned courses and course scoring.
Implementation and Ongoing eCW Training and Education Leads to a Happier Staff, Better Patient Experience, and Increased Revenue
When your practice prioritizes dedicated implementation training time and assigns a thoughtful Account Manager to facilitate smooth adoption of new features, functionalities, and updates, your practice is set up for success. This proactive approach saves staff and provider hassle, shortens patient wait times, and ensures your practice is eligible for all relevant grants and incentive programs. Drive optimal quality and efficiency at your practice by prioritizing eCW education and training during implementation, adoption, and beyond.