Reducing EHR training and onboarding costs with a hybrid strategy

August 10, 2022
by Jordan Edwards

Blog PostHealthcareA hand turning blocks with letters, message changes from "in-class learning" to "hybrid learning"

A hybrid EHR training strategy may be the best option for healthcare systems looking to reduce training and onboarding costs. Electronic health record (EHR) software can be incredibly sophisticated. With their customized implementations spanning a multitude of workflows, learning how to operate an EHR requires considerable training. Traditionally, it called for intensive hands-on learning with in-person instructors and employees, but more modern options have improved EHR training in myriad ways. 

With these improvements come significant cost savings and a better experience for clinicians. Hybrid EHR training is an excellent way to relieve the burden of onboarding and ongoing training and maximize your EHR implementation’s return on investment (ROI). Let’s explore how. 

The Cost of Instructor-Led EHR Training 

Electronic health records have various costs associated with implementation, such as the cost of EHR software, IT adjustments and, of course, training. Traditional EHR training uses in-person instruction. This may be performed one-on-one or with a large group in a class-style structure. While this kind of training can be effective, it also comes with a higher price tag.  

An EHR implementation cost breakdown can include expenses associated with: 

  • Time away from the job: Learners need to spend time away from their work to attend instructor-led training, which limits productivity and opportunities for hands-on education. When considering onboarding, specifically, it also delays the time it takes to get new hires onboarded and seeing patients. 
  • Travel time: In many cases, both the learners and the instructor also need to travel, which costs money and takes away from the time they can spend focused on patient care or higher-value tasks. 
  • Logistics: When training is conducted in-person, training and onboarding for new hires are often delayed until there is a large enough group to justify travel and coordination. This can delay getting new hires on the floor. 
  • Space: Organizing instruction can be challenging. Large businesses may be spread out across multiple states or countries, especially when a remote workforce is involved. You may need to find dedicated classrooms, which many buildings lack. The logistics of instruction across large organizations can be complex and costly. 
  • Curriculum: In-person training often takes on a “one-size-fits-all” approach, with a single instructor speaking to a room full of people. This strategy doesn’t consider the unique learning demands of individuals. The learner can’t work at their own pace, and the education may lack specificity to their role or department.  
  • Standardization: In-person learning also varies significantly from instructor to instructor. Large organizations need to work with new trainers across different regions or locations, which can affect the consistency of the content across the entire health system. 
  • Scalability: When combined, these challenges can make scaling classroom training difficult, particularly for large organizations spread out geographically. 

Traditional EHR training comes with several challenges and costs that must be factored into the overall cost of EHR implementation. 

How Does Hybrid EHR Training Reduce Costs?

Hybrid training involves blending traditional training methods with electronic resources, like course modules, tip sheets and videos. It can address the biggest challenges associated with traditional EHR training and help reduce the cost of implementing EHR systems.  

With hybrid training, you can: 

  • Reduce the need for classroom rentals: Online access to learning materials eliminates the need for classroom space. Learners can access material from any computer, at any time. 
  • Reduce travel expenses: Since instructors can teach digitally, you don’t need to pay for travel reimbursements to get them and your learners on location. 
  • Reduce time away from the job: Learners get to spend less time away from their work and their patients with self-paced tools that allow them to learn in a way that matches their preferences and availability. 

Research also backs the effects of hybrid training on an EHR cost-benefit analysis. Hobson & Company conducted a study on the success of uPerform®, our digital learning platform. Hobson & Company found that uPerform clients saw a 40% reduction in instructor-led training costs, a 45% reduction in the time learners spend away from the job and a host of other benefits.

Hobson & Company ROI Report - New research finds digital learning platforms are a cost-effective way to improve user proficiency of mission-critical IT systems - Request Report

Other Benefits of a Hybrid EHR Training Approach 

Savings aren’t the only advantages that come with a hybrid training strategy. It also helps in areas like: 

  • Learner satisfaction: Many clinicians prefer the structure of hybrid training, which offers more convenience and individualized support for meeting the learner’s goals. They can work at their own pace and avoid being stuck in a stuffy classroom all day with a curriculum that isn’t tailored to their role or specialty. Their education also tends to be more hands-on and less passive than in a classroom environment. Better training results in happier clinicians – users of uPerform at Baylor Scott & White Health rated their Net EHR Experience Score (NEES) 12.9 points higher than non-users. 
  • Refresher training: Learners can access information at any time and anywhere. If they need a reminder or just want to refresh themselves on a subject, they can easily do so. Plus, you can update courses and other training materials, including tip sheets, videos and simulations quickly and easily to ensure they stay up to date. 
  • Accelerated onboarding: Hybrid training strategies can significantly speed up the onboarding process, allowing employees to get on the floor faster and start caring for patients with less time spent on instruction. It’s also easily scalable, so you can meet increasing demands as your staff grows. 
  • Agility: Hybrid training offers flexibility. It can be completed anywhere at any time, so learners get to work on a schedule that works best for them and their employees. If a nurse is needed on the floor, they can pause their instruction and continue it when it’s easier on them, their coworkers and the organization. 
  • Synchronicity: Learning in a hybrid environment can occur asynchronously — in other words, at any time. Learners don’t need to show up in a certain place at a certain time, leaving them to schedule their training at opportune times and eliminating the need to coordinate availability.  
  • Freeing up trainer time: By standardizing the curriculum, you can free up instructors to  offer one-on-one training of the more customized aspects of the EHR. They can spend less time on repetitive teaching and more time offering consultative training and discussions. They become more of a mentor than a teacher. See how Gundersen Health System offered “at-the-elbow” instruction with the help of uPerform. 
  • EHR utilization: Dr. CT Lin of the UCHealth says that 80% of improving an EHR for a particular clinic or clinician comes down to end-user training. Optimization is a key part of increasing the ROI of the system, and much of optimization relies on how you use the EHR. Do clinicians know all the features it has to offer or how to personalize the interface to better meet their needs? A robust hybrid training approach can help improve custom learning and boost your ROI. 
  • Ongoing training: Data shows that ongoing training is the second most important determinant of EHR satisfaction, with initial training being most important. However, getting clinicians to engage with ongoing training opportunities continues to be a challenge. When M Health Fairview embedded their eConsent workflow learning materials in the flow of work, engagement increased from 7% to 87%. 
  • Single source of truth: Instructor-led training can lead to a varied curriculum depending on the instructor. Without a centralized system for additional help resources, consistency across learning materials can become a challenge. Kelley Williamson, Director of Information Technology at UCHealth, and Anne LaFlamme, CNIO at M Health Fairview, both stress the importance of establishing a single source of truth in a series of podcasts with Becker’s Healthcare. 

Hybrid training has benefits that span nearly every part of the organization through faster learning, flexibility and high satisfaction rates. Whether you’re looking at the cost of Epic EHR implementation or the complexity of onboarding, the right approach to training can ensure you make the most of your EHR platform. 

Implement Hybrid EHR Training Seamlessly with uPerform - Contact Us

Implement Hybrid EHR Training Seamlessly With uPerform 

uPerform is the trusted digital learning solution in healthcare. We can help you switch to hybrid training for Epic and other EHRs, maximizing ROI and saving money.  

From faster onboarding to better utilization, uPerform can assist in cutting initial and ongoing EHR training costs. Its in-application support allows users to find answers without leaving the platform, with intelligent, individualized resources. Content is easy to manage and customize, allowing you to create the ideal combination of in-person training and standardized digital learning. 

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Case Study: Baylor Scott & White Health (BSW) reduces training and onboarding costs, improves satisfaction

Since implementing uPerform and transitioning to a computer-based training program in September 2019, BSW has eliminated 186,000 hours of new hire/new affiliate onboarding time that previously would have been spent in instructor-led training. This has allowed their training team to focus on higher-value work, like developing learning journeys to guide users along their ‘pathway to proficiency.’ Users of uPerform at BSW report higher satisfaction with their EHR and training experience than nonusers.