I ran across many articles over the last several years about the mix of clinicians and IT staff on an EHR Team and routinely recall it as an exceptionally useful lesson learned from the field. The ratio most commonly suggested is 25%. Over the years working with organizations across the nation
when choosing, implementing, training and adopting an EHR, I would agree with the 25% suggestion and recommend following when building a team. A common theme emerged from research: 25% or greater clinician participation is a success factor. These 10 points offer ideas towards becoming an innovation leader with having the right mix of clinicians.
1. Why it works – a mix of providers, registered nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists, therapists, pharmacy and radiology technicians and developing leaders in these areas will bring unique perspectives and a wide array of skills to your team. Clinicians already work closely as a team of multi-skilled problem solvers centered on their patients in a fast passed environment.
2. Just right, just in time – pair clinicians with IT staff now as you continue to expand to achieve the right mix. The advantage of clinical endurance, quick thinking and the ability to assimilating answers swiftly delivers the needed information to get things done correctly and on time. When adopting a clinical application, initially having a core set of tasks assigned to the clinical and IT team with a project plan to monitor closely will prove successful.
3. Leverage creativity – keep ideas and creativity flowing and encourage the use of knowledge from past experiences. Everyone will be key contributors to the organization’s performance and if something does not seem like it is working right, solve by encouraging suggestions. Role-play and critique use of the system. Implement an online “suggestion box” or an email group called “Innovation Team”.
4. The Basics – clinicians understand the moving parts of multiple software programs, policies and procedures and have care plans ingrained in their minds. The team should lead with the basic important skills: understanding the setup and security of the system, how to manage multiple alerts, patient interaction, compassion for users and comprehension of the system build.
5. Documentation – clinicians have deep rooted documentation skills, which are extremely useful for documenting workflows, guidelines and electronic training. Evaluating workflow and content building by a clinician is ideal. These projects will be very rewarding with many accomplishments as clinicians always like to see things completed!
6. Training – provide a checklist of what each team needs to know based around their job description and review at regular intervals. Develop Super Leaders rapidly by identifying who has figured it out and can pass on those skills. When someone new starts, have a clearly laid out 30, 60, 90 day training plan. Often clinicians are accustomed to receiving little training, and given the right training they will soar. Consider developing your clinicians to conduct formal EHR training and utilize their natural expertise. Having your EHR team clinicians available in the training classes has also been proven very useful. They continue with the same group to their go live situations and assist with recall on the best workflow and training.
7. Enthusiasm and Expectations – achieve competitive advantage in the work place for personal growth by providing change management and leadership classes to foster strong confidence and an environment of learning and excitement.
8. Project Management – proficiency with managing a plan of care around a patient transitions to managing and caring for a project. Nurture is an action we rarely associate with Project Management, however, realize that nurses especially have the skill to do so to effectively advance the project.
9. Knowledge and Depth – offer continuing education units and development classes. It is a challenge moving from the floor to a cubicle and from rapid results to a long term project so challenge clinicians with programs specific to clinical IT and keep in mind the different levels of software and hardware understanding.
10. Mark success points and end points – have firm closure from one project to the next with positive rewards for creating a new way to do something or a new document or new workflow. Establishing an “innovation of the day” award is a benefit which will keep the team engaged and develop confident employees.
Transform your projects by increasing your clinician percentage to inspire greater optimization and adoption of your clinical systems.