Derek Harley of M Health Fairview on taking a marketing approach to EHR education

April 5, 2023
by Jordan Edwards

Blog PostHealthcareDerek Harley speaking to audience with uPerform slideshow

For Derek Harley, EHR education is all about meeting the learner where they are. Harley is the EHR/HIT Learning and Development Manager of M Health Fairview, a 10-hospital health system and client of uPerform. With over 20 years of learning and development experience, Harley is fiercely committed to improving the support he and his team provide to M Health Fairview’s frontline workers. uPerform was fortunate to host him as a speaker at its latest company summit, where he expressed that commitment and his appreciation for uPerform in aiding his pursuit.

Harley begins his presentation by addressing the current healthcare crises – hospitals are understaffed and overburdened, while clinician burnout and turnover soar. This is what he thinks about whenever he tries to put a new learning initiative in front of his caregivers.

While he and his team have made significant strides in supporting caregivers in their use of the EHR and other technology tools, Harley always has his eyes on the horizon. Right now, that’s approaching EHR education with the mindset of a marketer. But he starts his presentation with how he arrived here.

Aligning the stars: Establishing a learning solar system

Harley began his tenure with M Health Fairview in 2015. At the time, the learning ecosystem (or learning solar system, as he also refers to it) consisted of various education tools, including:

  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) from multiple employment homes
  • Microsoft SharePoint sites
  • Email
  • Physical classrooms
  • Collaboration technologies
  • Independent providers
  • Affiliates
  • Contractors

“That’s where uPerform aligned those stars for us. We took uPerform and put it in the center of our learning experience.”

slide from presentation that reads "UPERFORM ALIGNED THE STARS." A diagram representing a solar system is on the left with the uPerform logo in the center. A list of text on the right reads "Centralized Distribution, Access Based on Epic Login, Role and Context Relevancy, Integrated with Epic, eLearning Development, Learning in the Flow of Work"

In December 2020, Harley and his team launched uPerform. By the following May, M Health Fairview was leveraging uPerform virtual onboarding and integrated help in Epic across the entire organization.

“About 80% of our care went to virtual visits in the middle of the pandemic. And we had to push learning materials to caregivers in an environment they had never experienced before, and uPerform helped us out with that.”

With uPerform, M Health Fairview centralized its learning content, improving access for Epic users and easing the content management burden on the learning and development team. With learning content available directly in their workflow, Epic users can now find content easier. And for Harley, any relief he can provide for his overloaded learning and development team is a big win.

“[uPerform’s authoring tool] cuts our [simulation production] time in half. And that’s huge because that’s time back to my team.”

Just this past year alone, Harley’s team oversaw 12 monthly Epic releases, three quarterly releases, and two upgrades. Their content library consists of 3,000 documents, about 80% of which need to be edited every time they upgrade.

uPerform has helped Harley and his team centralize and scale their learning content as they stay afloat amid a constant state of changes, releases and upgrades.

Finding success with EHR microlearning

Harley and his team’s efforts have been proven valuable. Through a challenging few years, M Health Fairview’s learning and development team has managed to find success by creating and delivering microlearning opportunities to their learners.

When M Health Fairview was facing one of the largest nursing strikes in the nation, Harley and his team used uPerform to create a combined course for 18 different nurse learning paths. They sent 1,500 nurses through onboarding in only five days using the course and received “some of the best compliments on training that we’ve ever received from onboarding nurses.”

They also implemented a link to the uPerform Learning Library in their Epic F1 Dashboard. This link now receives 5,300 clicks per week, highlighting its ability to reach clinicians where they are – in the flow of work. Harley hopes to get this number up to 15,000 as he continues to drive awareness and market the learning opportunities to users.

EHR education: a marketer’s approach

While Harley is proud of the success he and his team have accomplished, his focus remains on what’s next. Lamenting that read rates are lower than he would like on an email newsletter, 90-second News, Harley asks the question, “what can we learn from marketing?” and shares his plan.

Meeting users where they are

With email read rates lower than he’d like, Harley intends to leverage uPerform to deliver change communications and additional learning materials directly in the workflows of his Epic users. Harley and his team have already had great success delivering microlearning in the Epic workflow, as shared by M Health Fairview CMIO, Anne LaFlamme.

“The more I can work to put that education right in front of them in Epic or in their workflow, the more success I’m going to have.”

With the change communications, he plans to notify users in their workflow when there are upcoming Epic changes that affect them directly. By enabling them to quickly see and prepare for changes before they occur, he believes clinicians will be better prepared, more proficient and more satisfied in their use of the EHR.

Creating more microlearning opportunities

Harley also plans to continue offering more microlearning opportunities for his Epic users. For him, it’s about balancing the need for more education with an already overwhelmingly hectic workload for caregivers.

“It can’t be the old school, classic version of learning where you get a 20-minute eLearning. Think TikTok era of videos. 30 seconds. 60 seconds. How many people watch the new three-minute videos on TikTok? Or do you scroll after 30, 40, 60 seconds? Our learners are doing exactly the same thing.”

He’s not the only one thinking about how the influence of TikTok has changed the landscape for educators. Dr. CT Lin of UCHealth has a similar outlook on the need for educators to think like TikTok content creators in this Becker’s Healthcare podcast.

Building an influencer network to promote viral learning opportunities

Continuing to build off what he’s learned from social media, Harley also wants to build an influencer network to promote peer-to-peer learning, a term he’s coining as “viral learning moments.” By combining the data he gathers from uPerform’s Learning Library insights report with data from email and SharePoint engagement reports, M Health Fairview is building a coalition of users who are most engaged with learning content. From there, he plans to deliver exclusive content with the hope that this coalition of engaged learners will share information with their peers.

Employing learner-centered principles

To conclude his presentation, Harley outlines what he refers to as learner-centered principles, a set of criteria for guiding his marketing approach that he visualizes as ongoing cycle.

  • Let learners construct their own plansA continuous cycle diagram featuring Derek's seven learner principals
  • Coach learners to expert performance
  • Encourage multiple perspectives
  • Situate learning in real-life activities
  • Prompt learners to think about their thinking
  • Guide learners to think like an expert
  • Evaluate learners’ thinking processes

Learn more about uPerform for EHR education

uPerform is a just-in-time learning and support platform that integrates with leading EHR systems to enable the creation, management and delivery of support materials in users’ workflows. Host all learning content, whether created with uPerform or other tools, in a central repository, enabling learners to find and access help faster. Health systems using uPerform report increased EHR satisfaction, savings in time and costs associated with classroom training, and improved scalability.

Explore uPerform for healthcare

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