The Importance of Training in Enterprise EHR Adoption

Physician training plays a key role in enterprise EHR adoption, making it a tool to capture patient data in a hospital or health system. If EHR patient data is to be de-identified and repurposed for population and public health studies, then its capture has to be consistent, accurate, and complete.

Photo of Heather Haugen, PhD, CEO and Managing Director, The Breakaway Group, Greenwood Village, CO

Dr. Heather Haugen serves on the faculty at the University of Colorado in Health Information Technology, where she mentors doctoral students.

A 2013 ONC study reports that 94% of non-federal acute care hospitals have adopted a certified enterprise EHR system. Yet, with a high adoption rate, software developed by best financed, largest players in the EHR industry, providers and professionals reluctantly use their EHR. Chief complaints are that the EHR and other technologies interfere with clinicians’ workflow.

Is hospital management asking too much of clinicians these days?

Dr. Heather Haugen, CEO and managing director of The Breakaway Group, a Xerox company, has studied users of health information technology (HIT). She has a host of strategies to help physicians transition from paper to the EHR. Recommended techniques overcome barriers to physicians effectively using their EHR.  

Dr. Haugen discusses training for physicians and others on the patient care team. Her recommendations go beyond train-the-trainer and conventional classroom instruction.

Instead, she advocates a role for hospital leaders and coaches. Proficiency comes with physicians being hands-on. Users and the organization measure progress. Sustaining adoption extends to training new hires over time. Simulation, like that used to train airline pilots is a technique that also works to train physicians on the new tasks and skills they need to acquire.

” EHRs create some new challenges and even safety issues if they are not implemented and adopted well. These challenges require all hands on deck to ensure the highest quality of care for patients. The data definitely drives behaviors and although many organizations are still trying to determine the best ways to use their data, it often drives important process improvement.”


—Dr. Heather Haugen is the author of two books, Beyond Implementation: A Prescription for Lasting EMR Adoption (2010), a healthcare business bestseller, and Beyond Coding: How ICD-10 Will Transform Clinical Documentation (2012).


Podcast (19 Minutes) Training in Enterprise EHR Adoption

Training in Enterprise EHR Adoption


(2:12 Minutes) Opportunities for Women in HIT

Opportunities for Women in HIT

(1:15 Minutes) Xerox Acquires The Breakaway Group

Xerox Acquisition of The Breakaway Group


Infographic showing the number of patient care days gained through efficient EHR training.



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