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Poor Medical Software Training Affects Patient Care
An EMR is like a loaded gun – it can be effective if used properly and risky if not. Among the software solution’s many benefits is its potential to improve quality of care. However, physicians should also be aware that using a medical software system without knowing its potential risks can end up harming patients instead of helping them.
Training is important in order to prevent adverse outcomes – and it is something that all new EMR users need to go through before using their EMR in a live situation. The problem is that not all physicians receive adequate training, and many EMR users end up navigating the software blindly.
What are the reasons behind physicians receiving inadequate EMR training?
1. Doctors (and staff members) with limited computer experience are some of the people most affected by the adoption of electronic medical record systems. These users do not only have to learn the ins and outs of the EMR, they often have to learn computer basics – and this is something that implementation managers might not take into consideration before scheduling training sessions for the EMR. When a physician or staff member goes through training and isn’t able to understand the concepts, the information doesn’t stick.
2. EMR vendors do not always offer free training – and when they do it is usually limited to a few hours. Because training fees can be pricey, physicians often choose to rush the training process in order to take advantage of the free sessions. Skipping the basics, however, only makes learning the complicated processes overwhelming. It can lead to lower retention rates and, ultimately, to physicians not using the medical software to its full potential.
3. Most vendors charge training fees by the hour. Therefore, many organizations choose to schedule training sessions for several employees at the same time. This can be counterproductive, as different people learn at different paces and not all users will need to learn the same things about the EMR.
How does poor training affect patient care?
There are many features built in to EMR systems that help healthcare professionals reduce errors and provide more comprehensive care. This includes basic things like spell check to more advanced features such as contraindication warnings. Poorly-trained physicians could potentially prescribe a medication that the patient is allergic to, or they could overlook an important lab result with abnormal findings. The physician could even leave out critical information from the patient’s chart that might affect a proposed treatment plan in the future. If physicians are not aware of their EMR’s features or do not know how to use them, their presence in the EMR is all for naught.