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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology and Quality
Improvement

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What are some ongoing training strategies?

Once a new information system is implemented, organizations need to put in place an ongoing plan to ensure that all new staff members receive training on the system as part of orientation and existing staff members receive refresher courses at periodic intervals.  Training strategies will vary depending on the scope of the implementation and the size of the clinic or hospital.

Small ambulatory providers and CAHs will likely not have the resources to have dedicated training staff.  In such cases, training will often be provided initially by the vendor.  For new staff, smaller entities often utilize a peer training approach where members with similar roles provide guidance and assistance. 

Depending on the resources available, larger critical access and community hospitals may seek vendor support, employ dedicated training staff or utilize the services of IT staff, if present, to teach the basics of using the health IT software.  It may also be necessary to create various printed materials on how to use the system, such as pocket-sized quick reference guides, that can especially helpful in the inpatient setting.  Creating a system playground is another useful learning tool that will allow staff to experiment and learn about the system without impacting real health care data in a production environment.  This type of set-up would be a private area that enabled supplemental training.

Also, organizations should remember that staff familiarity and comfort level with a new system will take time.  Learning a new health IT system can be difficult.  Some staff members may require months of use before they are proficient, particularly if they are not especially tech-savvy prior to the system's implementation.  In addition, attendance at user group meetings or other forums provide opportunities for staff to learn better ways to use the technology from one another.

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