Cerner implementations are among the most fundamentally challenging projects that a healthcare organization will ever confront. They affect everyone from the very top on down and force many employees who may have been doing things the same way for quite a while to learn a whole new system that they may have no experience with at all. This makes education and training absolutely pivotal. The subsequent three best practices are key to ensuring effective education and therefore an effective implementation.
Craft a Detailed Education Plan
The education plan has to be very detailed and specific and clearly address all of the various stakeholder groups (physicians, nurses, technicians, business analysts). There should be no assumption of competency, unless leadership has previously made clear that everyone on staff is already aware of Cerner from a previous engagement. Even then, it’s best to err on the side of more detailed instruction.
The very best education plan won’t work unless leadership is on board and recognizes the value in setting aside the time to train the staff. This makes it crucial to partner with the steering committee and get everyone on board with the plan. Otherwise, the training will be handled haphazardly and the end users (the employees) will be unprepared for the rollout and everything will unravel.
The central part of the education plan is the training for all the end users. A key factor to remember when preparing this training is that many people are just naturally resistant to change. Including references to the previous system and highlighting similarities between Cerner and the old way will help ease those anxieties and make the staff more comfortable during the training phase and ultimately the transition to Cerner.
The timing of the training is also very important. Do it too soon and the staff might forget about it by the time of the rollout. Do it too late and the staff might feel rushed and not pick up all of the critical aspects. There needs to be enough of a buffer before the Go Live date that the staff is able to absorb the instruction without losing interest.
Successful training also requires skilled trainers, so make sure to hire talented consultants, especially if you’ve found Cerner support to be lacking. Consulting and Staff augmentation services like Healthcare IS can help locate and provide the right trainers.
Create Test Environments
Instruction only goes so far. The only way the staff will truly become acclimated to Cerner is by playing with it themselves. That makes the creation of test environments a must. Consider it like a test drive, but without the risk of crashing.
The more practice time employees have with the system, the better equipped they will be to use it once rollout has arrived. Test environments also afford employees the opportunity to learn at their own pace. They can check out the system during idle time without being limited to just the training sessions.
The development of test environments and test patient scenarios is crucial in this process. While they don’t need to necessarily be perfect imitations of the real Cerner product, they should be as close as possible. Otherwise, their effectiveness is significantly hindered.
Learn what it takes to master the complicated process of implementing the Cerner EHR platform into your organization by downloading our Ebook.