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Quality of initial training makes a big difference in EHR satisfaction, KLAS report finds

The research shows significant variability in EHR satisfaction among specialties, but high-quality training can help.

High-quality training correlates with higher EHR satisfaction across specialities, according to a new report from KLAS Research.

The analysis finds that strong initial training as well as ongoing follow-up are the most important factors in providers' overall EHR experience. This holds true even for specialties that generally report lower satisfaction with their organization's EHR system. Within those low-scoring areas, there is significant variation depending on training quality.

It works in the other direction, too. While pediatrics physicians have a high overall average Net EHR Experience Score of 24.0 on the KLAS ranking, poorly trained pediatricians have a score of -21.6. 

WHY THIS MATTERS

The KLAS report, "Achieving EHR Satisfaction in Any Specialty," is based on survey data collected from 30,000 physicians nationwide. It finds the highest EHR satisfaction among hospital medicine, pathology, and pediatrics specialties, and the lowest overall satisfaction in the areas of orthopedics, cardiology, and plastic surgery.

The survey probed how satisfied users are with the functionality of their EHR systems, identifying common complaints such as the EHR not matching up with clinical workflow, or failing to reflect the size and scope of the clinician's practice. For the two largest customer bases in the data set, Epic and Cerner users, the report pinpoints high- and low-scoring specialties on a scale of whether their EHR system meets their needs.

Across specialties, Epic users are the most satisfied with their EHR functionality, although dermatology stands out as an area where Epic is falling short. The least-satisfied Cerner users, which include clinicians in gynecology and obstetrics, orthopedics, and ophthalmology, "are consistently less satisfied with EHR functionality than the least-satisfied specialties using Epic," according to the report.

In addition to high-quality training, KLAS finds personalization and company culture can make a difference in EHR satisfaction -- regardless of specialty.

THE LARGER TREND

Providers often report EHR-related dissatisfaction  -- and this impacts patients, too -- yet this research supports other findings that suggest good training can make a huge improvement in overall user experience.

The KLAS report finds less correlation between high user satisfaction and personalization, which makes sense; personalization can take a long time to set up, and other research has found that simpler EHR systems can help retain physicians.

ON THE RECORD

"There is no single, perfect training program," the KLAS report admits, "but implementing certain practices, such as using knowledgeable instructors for onboarding or providing lots of online content for follow-up training, can help build an education platform that is useful to clinicians, regardless of their specialty."

Deirdre Fulton is communications professional and freelancer based in Maine.