Tune into our latest podcast episode with Becker’s Healthcare featuring Anne LaFlamme, CNIO at M Health Fairview, as Anne offers nine tips for successfully transitioning to a virtual Epic training strategy.
For a readable transcript of the podcast, scroll to the bottom of this page.
Anne is the Chief Clinical & Nursing Informatics Officer at M Health Fairview, a partnership between the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Physicians and Fairview Health Services. Her national awards include the “Women’s Health Leadership TRUST Innovation and Technology Award” and the “School of Nursing Preceptor of the Year Award.”
As Anne and M Health Fairview were preparing for a series of acquisitions and mergers, they realized that their existing Epic training strategy was unsustainable for their anticipated growth. Knowing they needed a scalable training solution, they looked into virtual Epic training strategies. After researching available options, they chose to partner with uPerform for its ability to deliver learning content directly in the Epic EMR system workflow.
Their foresight helped prepare their training team to support staff through the pandemic, as in-person training became increasingly unfeasible. Now they are reaping the benefits of a modernized approach to EHR training that has increased end user engagement and is generating positive feedback from staff. In this Becker’s Healthcare podcast episode, Anne breaks down the factors that led to M Health Fairview’s successful transition to a virtual Epic training strategy.
1. Deliver learning in the flow of work
Anne makes it a point to credit a significant portion of her team’s success to embedding learning materials in the flow of work. When asked what are some of the best practices or lessons learned she’d like to share with other organizations still struggling to make the transition to virtual Epic training, Anne responds:
“The first thing I would say, and it’s probably the easiest thing to do if you have the right tools, is to embed microlearning at the point of work, in the flow of work, as one of the first interventions that you do in distribution of learning.”
When Anne’s team embedded a microlearning video into the eConsent navigator in Epic, they witnessed an increase in engagement with the tool from 7% to 87%.
2. Invest in your training team
Anne is careful to note that the M Health Fairview training team makes everything they do possible. Going digital doesn’t mean simply replacing trainers with digital courses.
“As we looked at the future of transitioning to digital, first we knew that we needed to really grow our own team.”
The M Health Fairview training team is responsible for course design and content creation, providing at-the-elbow support and staffing a helpline to support clinicians on an as-needed basis.
3. Rethink traditional trainer roles
For Anne and M Health Fairview, investing in the training team meant more than simply growing its numbers. Making the switch to a virtual Epic training model required them to build skills in digital and virtual learning content creation, course design and delivery.
“…moving from the trainer preparation – you know development of learning – into an actual designer role was really a critical decision that we made to move forward to a truly digital and virtual learning space.”
4. Establish a single source of truth
Centralizing learning content and providing a single source of truth for learners has been critical to M Health Fairview’s success, according to Anne.
“…understanding that we can do centralized distribution, so that we have a source of truth for all our different training and learning modules. So, we know that a nutritionist is going to see what [learning] they need based on their login, and it’s the content we have curated and that we keep up-to-date. We know it’s appropriate, current and correct.”
5. Establish a strong support network
Once an organization has the team in place to support it, Anne recommends establishing a strong support network for EHR users. While self-guided learning is a great tool for the EHR training toolkit, it’s still important to have experts that users can seek out for additional support.
“…users can reach out at any point to access an informaticist well-versed in Epic that has a whole team of people in IT and informatics behind them to help with really a broad array of questions. And we’ve seen great uptick in the use of both uPerform through the [Epic] F1 [Learning Home Dashboard], as well as accessing our support team virtually.”
6. Invest in tools that support both asynchronous and synchronous learning
Anne stresses the importance of asynchronous learning, also known as self-guided or self-paced learning. However, she also notes that even when training virtually, it’s still important to provide instructor-led synchronous training, particularly when onboarding. Finding a solution that supports both is critical to the success of a virtual Epic training strategy.
“What we focused on was where could we go to have a system that would support us in both asynchronous and synchronous learning? Asynchronous being when a user or a staff member knows that they need help with something…can actually do some self-guided learning…And then synchronous learning…where we were able to transition our classroom model to a model where we gather individuals in their spaces, whether it was a home or on the job at a workstation, and…have the instructor be the leader.”
7. Deliver learning opportunities in multiple formats
Everyone learns differently. For Anne and M Health Fairview, this meant creating and delivering content in multiple formats and making it accessible to end users.
“…wanting to provide learning in the way that the user wants to see it and wants to experience it was one of the other critical items when looking for a partner in this space. So, for instance, being able to choose how I want the information, whether it’s written like in a tip sheet format, if I want to view a quick microlearning video, or have a longer, more interactive instructional course I complete.”
8. Provide single-sign-on access to learning materials
The over reliance on software applications is one of the leading contributors of frustration and fatigue for clinicians. When choosing a platform for guiding users through their software journey, make sure to choose one that allows single sign-on access.
“With uPerform, the users is able to actually click on a button in Epic, it takes them right into the uPerform system [via Epic single sign-on], and actually knows [the] context they were logged into in Epic…and can actually cater to what they see on that initial screen to their role.”
9. Invest in the right tools, but don’t scrap your current ones just yet
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to Epic training. Different tools offer different benefits for training teams and end users alike. When investing in new tools, take account of what tools you already have and will need to continue using before removing them from your toolkit.
“We took the time to really understand the ecosystem of our learning applications, understanding that each [tool] did still have a place in the greater scheme of things. So, we obviously still need our LMS. We still use our intranet and all our communication channels. We did find that there was a particular space and gap that uPerform helped us fill and [provided] capabilities that we didn’t previously have.”