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MEDICAL RECORDS wherever whenever

Meaningful Use Today The

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advantages of simulation training

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How to improve EMR adoption. By Heather Haugen

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he phrase “meaningful use” has been repeated so many times in the past two years, with such intense focus and

scrutiny, that we may have lost focus on its actual intended meaning.

The conversation today seems to center around healthcare providers implementing technology and accessing stimulus dollars. Driving adoption of the technology often isn’t even consid- ered until after the go-live event. If the technology that promises to deliver the benefi ts is implemented but sitting un- used, or used incorrectly, providers can’t expect to realize meaningful results. The next step toward achieving meaningful use – and where I believe the conversa- tion belongs – is to ensure caregivers are using the technology consistently and accurately to achieve quality outcomes and improve patient care.

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So our focus must move to how to improve adoption. How can we ensure the accurate use of the electronic medi- cal records (EMR) systems by healthcare providers in all roles over the life of the application? It is time for us to drastically change our approach to training. Consider the value of teaching care- givers to use EMRs through role-based simulators. Simulation provides an opportunity to practice in a real-life en- vironment without real-life risks and con- sequences. Caregivers learn in their actual EMR application, which is critically im- portant for learning workfl ow and gaining new knowledge about the system. They


Heather Haugen, Ph.D., is corporate vice president, The Breakaway Group, A Xerox Company.

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only learn tasks that are applicable to their role. For example, physicians learn to enter orders and write prescriptions, but don’t have to sit through training on functional- ity they will never use. It shortens the learn- ing curve by ensuring

caregivers are profi cient in the use of the system, ultimately feeling confi dent enough with the technology to adopt and use it to provide care. The success rate is signifi cant – statis- tics show that providers who use simu- lation technology experience adoption rates of up to 70 percent higher com- pared to traditional training approaches, such as “train the trainer.” This ultimately means that caregivers are utilizing the EMR technology as intended and driving quality outcomes for patients. Here is some practical information for any providers considering best practices for boosting adoption rates for EMRs: • Prioritize education: When orga- nizations struggle with adoption of new technology, they often blame the user for resisting change. While it is true that user resistance can slow adoption, the user attitude is simply a barometer for how prepared the organization is for change and how they have chosen to educate caregivers. Resistance is often a symptom of lack of engage-

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