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Electronic medical record (EMR) training usually is conducted over several weeks and consists of a series of modules instructing medical personnel on how to create electronic patient charts, how to prescribe medication using digital software, and how to scan hard copy medical records into a patient’s digital file. Training also includes instruction on using technology to manage laboratory results and transcriptions. While some trade schools offer generalized courses in EMR training, computer software companies that specialize in providing EMR products typically assign their own trainers to personally guide nurses, doctors and support staff in using a digital health records system designed specifically for their employer. Generally, no training time is spent on the basics of computer use, so workers not proficient in using computers might need pre-training courses.
The Initial EMR training session might be spent giving an overview of the entire records system so that users become familiar with logging into the software and accessing its different components. Since the patient chart is the primary anchor of any digital records systems, a majority of training sessions is devoted to how to create and update a patient’s chart, in addition to how to read it, find former histories, and share the data digitally. Sharing data amongst medical professionals means that users must learn how to use such EMR communication features as built-in email and real-time status postings.
During lessons on chart creation, EMR training includes showing medical workers a variety of methods for inputting data. Beyond typical keypad entry, workers are taught how to input data using handwriting recognition systems, dictation through microphones or recordings, and importation of picture files, graphics and statistical spreadsheets. Other sessions during EMR training involve teaching users how to search digital records and to prioritize or synthesize findings. Workers also learn how to switch between several open files without closing out programs or confusing information. Learning all these charting procedures, however, can be frustrating for some, prompting many trainers to postpone such training until after users learn simpler procedures, such as scanning in a patient’s paper files.
Using digital prescription software is another significant portion of training. Such software can reduce errors resulting from a doctor’s poor handwriting. In training, workers are taught not only how to select certain medications to digitally prescribe, but also how to immediately transmit the prescription to a pharmacy’s electronic system. They can also learn how to print out a hard copy prescription for the patient to take home. Most prescription training modules include directions on how to use the software to suggest substitute medication, print daily usage guidelines and identify drug contraindications.
EMR training modules dedicated to laboratory test results are among the most essential and complex. Technicians learn how to program laboratory software to deliver results directly to the EMR software and associate them with certain patients. Workers are also taught how to select the most desirable format for laboratory results. After EMR training is complete, managers typically schedule future follow-up sessions to refresh employee skills and teach aspects of any new or upgraded software.