- Stephen Boulanger
eMAR Series Part Six - Training
When a community decides to embrace the benefits of eMAR, it’s vital that the community fully commits to the transition. Nowhere is that more apparent than in training staff to use the new system.
In our experience, identifying a “super user” is extremely effective. This is someone within the community thoroughly trained so that they can, in turn, train others. Having an expert on site solves a number of issues, including training new hires, fixing any glitches in the system and accessing details that communities would otherwise have to rely heavily upon their pharmacy or eMAR company for. This super user will need to be in a position to build a strong relationship with your pharmacy and eMAR company contacts.
The Importance of Being Trained
We’ve trained people of every level of technological prowess and can attest to the fact that anybody can learn to use eMAR. Some of the staff we have met with had never even touched a computer before, but they were able to master the new system. If your staff members have a smart phone or can use an ATM, they can master any eMAR system you choose to implement.
We strongly advise you work with your pharmacy from the beginning to decide which eMAR is right for your community. Training is one more reason to do this, because while eMAR companies offer training, the cost can be as high as $3,000 per day. Your pharmacy may be able to train your staff at a significantly reduced cost. Keep in mind that because eMAR deals with medication, your pharmacy is ultimately responsible for what happens with the system. It’s in their best interest to make sure your community is fully trained on how to use the system effectively, so discuss training with your pharmacy before you commit to an eMAR.
Change is hard and eMAR represents not just a change in how your community charts medications, it represents a cultural shift. This can be very difficult, especially when combined with staff members who don’t consider themselves computer literate and are intimidated by the very idea of eMAR.
You can manage the cultural shift in your community and support those members of staff who get discouraged trying to learn a new system. The key is to keep going, be diligent and make sure your management team is fully committed to the new system. Staff members will learn and changes will become the new normal as long as you persevere. The one thing that will actually undermine progress is a lack of buy-in from your leadership.
Management teams who make learning the new system a priority help lead their entire community in the right direction. We’ve seen communities adopt eMAR then have to deal with staff members in total opposition to the change. Because they were fully committed to the new system, these communities were able to persevere and train up their staff. Within a couple of months those very people who didn’t want to learn eMAR were thanking their management team for making the switch. Sadly, we’ve also seen the opposite, communities who implemented electronic systems only to hesitate to commit the time and resources it takes to fully train their staff. These communities spent all the money, time and effort implementing a system, but never reaped the rewards.