Utilizing Super Users

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Purpose of the Super Users: To provide a support system within the department and are ambassadors and project liaisons of the EHR. Super Users are queried during the build process to provide input on system build decisions. They also assist in validating the current state workflows as well as assist in validating the new electronic workflows. Super Users provide a first point of contact within the department to answer questions. They also are very vital in providing peer to peer support. Super Users will be asked to provide feedback from their department to the EHR Team, both positive and negative feedback.

Selection Criteria: Super Users should be technology-savvy and innovative clinical and non-clinical staff who are willing to help other learn the system. An innovative person would be defined as someone who has the ability to see how the technology can meet a business need or solve an unsolved problem. Super users can be identified by via simple conversation, such as asking how EHR can help solve a problem in their clinic. They should also have the ability to dedicate additional time for meetings and training sessions, yet not be in “lead” roles, where they already have a lot going on. It is also not a good idea to make a clinic manager a SU UNLESS they function within the EHR on a daily basis. Ultimately, great SUs are often those people who have extensive knowledge of the EHR and clinic specific workflows.

One way to begin the selection process would be to place sign up sheets in various areas throughout each clinic. This sheet should include a brief "job description" with the SU responsibilities and the required skill sets necessary to do the "job". Some important skills to look for are strong work ethic, intermediate computer knowledge, six months or more in their current position and/or 1 year with the organization and prior work with an EHR system.

Appointing and Evaluating Super users

Each clinic should select at least one clinical SU and one Physician Champion at a minimum. The total number of SU's per clinic will ultimately decide on the size of the clinic (e.g. number of providers per clinic). SU's should also be role specific. These roles can be broken down into two types: Clinical and non-clinical. The clinical SU's would typcially be responsible for assisting providers with EHR related problems, while the non-clinical SU's would be responsible for assisting front desk, HIM, billing and other non-clinical personnel with role specific EHR related issues.

SUs should be the first line of contact (in addition to the deployment team where applicable). This can be accomplished by making them a part of the deployment during key deployment timeframes (e.g. the first one to two weeks of each new deployment). Clinics need to be thoroughly educated about who their SUs are, what their responsibilities are and when to use the SU versus contacting the helpdesk (if applicable).

Manager’s Involvement

Managers are welcome to participate in any and all Super User training and meetings. This participation proves to be beneficial in keeping Managers informed about the project.

Potential Super User Meetings

I. Super User Kick Off

II. Involved with Testing

III. Specialty specific build decision meetings

IV. Weekly Calls (30 min) – Beginning one week before go-live

V. Additional Training specific to Phase being rolled out

VI. Assist with Mock Training

VII. Quarterly Super User Training Sessions to train on more advanced features as well as share “tips and tricks” of the system

SU Responsibilities

  • Unlocking Notes
  • Checking the Print Queue (Queue Admin)
  • Resubmitting Print and Fax Jobs
  • Auditing Notes (where applicable)
  • Correcting Notes (e.g. moving to visit encounter when started on the wrong encounter type and invalidating notes)
  • Assisting with Personal Task Views (if these are used)

 Sample SU Timeline: 
    Week 1 - Initial skills assessment
    Week 2 - SU selection
    Week 3 and 4 - System training and practice sessions
    Week 5 - Post Training Assessment (SU certification) and shadow an analyst for a day

Potential SU Issues

Issue: SUs knowledge of software and current training practices
Resolution: All potential SUs should have a basic windows assessment and skills review. A train the trainer approach can also be taken where EHR Trainers can train the SUs and then the SUs can train the end users as a second line of action. All SUs can also be trained on the entire EHR system PRIOR to training other end users. This training should NOT be limited to just their role, but all roles. This in turn will provide the SUs with the "big" picture with as it relates to EHR and its functionality. Case studies may also be helpful during these training sessions. These sessions can be combined with SUs across the org to minimize the number of sessions. Post training, SUs should be given a written and oral assessment as well as be provided with quick reference guides where applicable.

Issue: SU knowledge of future state workflows
Resolution: Involve SU's in any and all workflow meetings to ensure they fully understand future state workflows.

Issue: SUs ability to resolve issues timely and provide immediate support
Resolution: Use a "buddy-system" where SUs are paired up with EHR analysts for shadowing purposes. Allow the SU to review trouble tickets with the analyst. Also provide the SU with the first opportunity to address end user questions while still allowing the analyst "buddy" to guide the SU through the appropriate issue resolution process. This helps the SU with critical thinking skills and helps to ensure the SU is competent in resolving EHR issues, while also understanding when to forward issues to the next tier in the chain.

During deployment, it would be helpful if clinic SUs could be afforded the opportunity to dedicate 100% of their time to their SU responsibilities, but do to staffing constraints, this may not always be possible. This approach will ultimately benefit the clinic in that their SU will have dedicated time learning how to support end users in real time with real life situation. This in turn can yield more competent SUs and more timely resolution of end user issues, which can increase satisfaction with the EHR. Over the long haul, this approach can also lead to a decrease in the number of phone calls to the helpdesk and highly self sufficient clinics.

Issue: SU communication between clinics (e.g. similar issues may be arising in different clinics that require the attention of the EHR team, but its not possible to know that without communication between clinics)
Resolution: Monthly or quarterly meetings could be held for all SUs in a specialty or across the org to discuss common issues and work to resolve them as a group.

Issue: SU visibility/availability within the clinic during deployment (particularly for very large clinics)
Resolution: Have a couple of devoted pagers for SUs, perhaps one for each role. Or create an email distribution group only for SUs to receive basic EHR related questions. These questions can be redirected to the EHR team if the SU cant answer.