Health systems are finding creative and innovative ways to keep physicians, clinical and administrative staff abreast of updates and changes related to the way healthcare is delivered in these unique times. When the goal is minimal downtime for training to support a focus on patient care, utilizing a Train-The-Trainer Model (or “ToT Model” via Digital Learning is a great way to disseminate timely, necessary information without disrupting core clinical functions. Let’s examine a few ways that healthcare organizations can leverage eLearning approaches to deploy a Train-The-Trainer program to support EHR implementation…as well as any other initiatives rolling out to busy practitioners.

1: Identify Super Users For EHR Training

In some healthcare IT implementations, a Trainer and a Super User may be two distinct roles filled by two different resources. But in the spirit of streamlining, it’s worth identifying folks who can wear both hats, so to speak. The goal of assigning this role is determining who will be tasked with the extensive training and responsibilities associated with not only mastering the EHR or health solution(s) in play, but with then helping other end users effectively use the tools for care delivery or operations.

Qualities Of A Strong EHR Trainer For A Digital Train-The-Trainer Approach?

There are a handful of qualities that health systems should look for when selecting the trainer(s) who will utilize digital learning practices within a ToT model to support end users. Since this task is a marriage of both technical acumen with the solution itself (such as Epic) and with eLearning tools (such as Web-Ex), there are unique needs to execute strongly:

  1. Adaptability in the face of technical issues
  2. Availability/time for training duties (both their own and to end users)
  3. Excellent communication skills, especially with different audiences (technical, clinical, computer savvy…and not)
  4. Familiarity with training materials and technical support available
  5. PATIENCE
  6. Strong understanding of clinical workflows and end user scenarios
  7. Willingness to serve in the role

Selecting the right people as Super Users to drive a Train-The-Trainer approach to digital learning will go a long way in ensuring success of the technology initiative.

2: Train Up the eLearning Trainer As An EHR Expert

In order to best facilitate and deliver solid EHR training, the trainer must be equipped with all the support and instruction possible to provide a well-rounded tour of the solution. This is not to say that the employed trainer must become certified on Epic, but rather that they have the knowledge base to feel confident in presenting the material. This includes knowing where to go when they don’t know the answer, such as Technical Support/IT, the implementation team, or Help Desk resources for troubleshooting. In some cases, connecting the local trainer with a certified Epic ATE trainer may, in fact, be the optimal resource for the types of questions or concerns that arise.

Health systems do well to ensure that digital learning trainers have access to every tool needed — including solutions experts — to encourage competence and minimize delays in rolling out training to end users.

3: Decide Who Will Schedule And Conduct eLearning Classes

If the ToT model is leveraged, it’s important to help the designated trainer(s) with logistics involved in deploying the digital learning classes. Perhaps the Super Users are administratively gifted and can easily run with all aspects of training, including scheduling, communicating with participants, setting up the AV components, etc. But it’s important to validate availability and ability for trainers to manage this aspect of eLearning to drive successful training. It’s very possible that a gifted trainer may struggle immensely with the logistics of virtual instruction, so ask and assist as needed to keep the focus where it’s most vital.

4: Incorporate A Feedback Loop For Virtual Trainings

When it comes to digital learning best practices, having a feedback loop is crucial for measuring success of training. EHR digital learning is no different, especially when a Train-The-Trainer approach is taken. Utilizing a quiz within the training materials or online course, or even following up with a survey to attendees is a great way to measure competence with the training material/training subject, as well as evaluating the effectiveness of the trainer delivering the message. This creates accountability while ensuring that the trainer has the data to seek further training for themselves or alter their approach to encourage adoption.

Training The Trainer Creates Scalability And Domain Expertise

Taking the approach of a Train-The-Trainer model for digital learning cultivates in-house SMEs on healthcare IT solutions that can be utilized exactly as needed. The key is setting up training resources for success to deliver the right content via the right medium to optimally support busy end users within the organization. Deploying a ToT strategy for ongoing virtual training initiatives is a great way to scale while developing a deep knowledge base.