Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and EHR for FREE!

More Complaints About the ONC Workforce Program

Posted on May 23, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I think my post on Finding Jobs for ONC Workforce Participants and other related posts have been some of the saddest posts I’ve done. My heart really does break when I read the stories of the people who have done the ONC Workforce program and can’t find healthcare IT jobs. Here’s one such example that was recently left in the comments (minor modifications from the original):

I too completed the ONC Workforce Training Program in December 2011. I am an R.N. with over 20 years of healthcare experience.I have no prior IT experience…$19 billion dollars [the whole HITECH Act was $36 billion, so this number is off. I want to say the workforce program was just a little under $1 billion. Either way, it’s still a lot of money.] of tax payers money has been invested in the training we should be prepared to get a job. I have been agressively looking for an entry level position also and have not been able to get work because when I speak to employers, recruiters, the outcome is always the same “the EHR companies want experienced people”, they are not interested in the HIT certification. The IT companies are being very selective at this time, they are looking for experts to implement the EHR systems. Eveyone is making money, the colleges, Ahima, Pearson Vue, computer companies, printer companies, and all of the supply companies that students buy equipment and supplies from. I have spent $3,000.00 on equipment in preparation for taking the ONC training. It may be tuition free, but it is very expensive to take the training. I have been unemployed for almost 4 years due to lay-offs. I have advanced training in healthcare and have spent large sums of money and remain unemployed. I thought that with my nursing background that I would have been a perfect fit for the ONC Trainer Role. I appreciate the training, but am greatly disappointed with not being trained for the job industry. Well if anyone has any lead on how I can get a job please share the information.

In that post, I linked to the EMR & EHR Jobs board that I have in the sidebar of my websites. There are quite a few EMR related jobs listed there. I haven’t quite figured out the reason for the disconnect. I’ve always been an experience over certification guy, but some of these stories really tug at the heart strings. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I have many answers for these people searching for healthcare IT jobs.

New APN’s View of EMR

Posted on January 14, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today I got the following message (actually on Facebook) from a previous colleague of mine. When I worked with her she was an RN, but she just finished her education to become an APN and found a job at a local well known medical provider. Here’e her message to me after starting the job (specific names removed):

Help! I need to learn [Jabba the Hutt EMR’s] charting system;-( No bueno… Mucho hard!! I like [previous job’s] EMR so much better!!

Excuse the spanglish and almost text message style feel to the message. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she sent me that Facebook message from her phone. Yes, our methods of communicating are changing.

I was pretty taken a back by her message actually. Not because I haven’t heard complaints about this Jabba the Hutt EMR system (Definition of Jabba the Hutt EMR Vendors: Good in their day, but have gotten so big and bulky that they’re barely functional) before. I actually had heard similar stories, but I just didn’t expect it from her. She was always very good at computers and doing what she needed to do with the EMR when I worked with her. Plus, she’d already used a couple different EMR in her career.

I will discount part of her reaction as the knee jerk response to a new job, a new company, APN instead of RN and a new EMR software. That’s a pretty steep learning curve for anyone.

The challenge this comment provides however is how do clinics train new doctors on their EMR. In my opinion, the real problem for my friend isn’t like the EMR software, but is instead the training that she received on the EMR software. Properly trained, I’m sure she’d like using the EMR software a lot more than she just expressed.

Training new staff on the EMR is a challenge and vitally important. I was in charge of training the new staff at my previous work. I trained everyone from medical records staff to Lab Tech’s to MA’s to RN’s to APN’s to PA’s to MD’s and DO’s. I trained general medicine providers, dietitians, GYN’s, dermatologists, and a few other specialists. That’s a wide variety of people to train, but overall we did a pretty good job with most. Outside of our initial implementation where the whole staff was trained, I probably trained 50 different people. Let’s just say that people definitely learn at different paces.

About 2 minutes into the training I could tell you how good (or bad) the training was going to go. I could train a provider on our EMR system in about 45 minutes to an hour to the point that they’d feel comfortable doing their job. Certainly there were some intricacies to looking up various codes and charges, but generally they knew what they were doing after an hour. The worst case scenarios usually ended up needing about 2 hours of training where I had a little more time to let them flounder through the charting process themselves on our test install so that they could really learn in a low pressure environment.

In our case, we had a contract with an outside company where they were always swapping out providers. Luckily our nursing staff was very consistent and could assist the new providers as various questions popped up.

To be honest, I think this system of training worked pretty well. One of the keys to our success was that we had a well defined process for using the EMR. So, a technical person like myself could easily train a clinical provider. Plus, I was deliberate in only showing them the easiest route to chart (at first) even though there was almost always 3-4 ways to do something. I learned this lesson the hard way. Far too many people get confused when you train them on 3 ways to do the same thing.

My favorite story about training a doctor though was when a doctor was ill and so a replacement doctor was provided from the company we partnered with. Turns out the new doctor they sent was pretty tech savvy and confident (not to be confused with arrogant). We looked at the clock and realized him and I would only have 5-10 minutes to train him on the EMR system. This was far from ideal, but you make the most of whatever situations come. So, I cranked through the most important features and processes. Then, I wished him good luck! He had a great day with no issues. Of course, as I said above, we had a nursing staff that could assist him as needed as well.

Moral to the Story: As a clinic it’s important to have a way to train new staff on your EMR.