Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Great Success!

After about a full day of struggling with the code, I was finally able to install the medical records software on one of the computers at the Center. Now begins the real work of inputing all of the data that the Center has collected about its patients on paper records into the system and then, the difficult task of training the nurses how to use the relevant features of the software in such a way that they see the utility of actually using it on a daily basis. I think that one of the worst things that could happen would be for me to install this software, get all of the current patient data inputed and working well, and then have it sit completely unused as soon as I left.

I think that making a case for the everyday usefulness of the software will be as important as teaching the nurses how to use the software. One idea that I've had is to have a day-long training session for each nurse on the software. The training day could include first, a brief overview of the software and why it will be useful to the nurses in their everyday lives. Then, I was thinking, I could devise a series of "drills" with the main goal of gaining some repetition on some of the most common maneuvers that the nurses will need to make daily such as logging in, checking their schedule, pulling up patient data, editing patient data, and logging out. After the nurses seem relatively proficient with those tasks, I was thinking that they could go through a couple of "role plays" with me being a new patient with the typical symptoms seen at the clinic and they could go through the complete process of adding a new patient to the system, as well as adding clinical symptoms, age, weight, BP, etc.

Onces the nurses are all trained on the software, we will pick a date to roll out its use. Hopefully, I'll be able to train all of the nurses and still have a little bit of time left to monitor the use of the software for about a week before I leave. In addition, Colleen Fant (who I will have to train as well) will be here for about 9 months, so she can be involved in the monitoring/follow-up effort as well.

So, the major parts of the training program are:
  1. Overview of software, main menu page, and why the software will be useful to the nurses and make their work easier.
  2. Series of drills on common maneuvers within the software
  3. Role playing in which nurses will go through the entire processes as they would happen on a normal day at the HOPE Center.
  4. Follow-up
Does that plan sound good? What am I missing, and what else do you think I need to do to make sure that using the software becomes part of the daily routine at the Center? I'd love input.


Vanessa said...


Your blog is awesome, and it seems like you guys are getting off to a great start with all the projects at the HOPE Center. Loved seeing you last weekend, and I can't wait to hear more updates!

ps. maybe type and print a training manual with screen shots on how to use the software for future reference?

Sarah said...

Hey there,

The blog is great - it's so fun to read about what you're up to (and you're much better at updating than our friend VLee)!

I do agree with her suggestion about having some sort of written instructions, though, because I know I personally forget everything computer-related a week after a day-long crash course like the one you're describing. That said, it's sounds like a really useful system - hopefully it catches on!

Can't wait for more updates, talk to you soon!

Sharp said...

Jon or should I say "Butters"(?)

Training is good, but day long training just leaves people brain dead and overwhelmed.

If you teach them to log on as a small group and then do the repitition on that
Teach them to input a patient and then repetition on that
Enter patient data and then repitition
Close out...repitition

Work as a small group (2-4 people) do a step, take a break, etc. If it would take five days to train one at a time, I think you could spend 3-4 days doing it this way.

Also, a couple of your nurses will catch on with the first steps and be excited, they will then feel confident to help with the next group. They will reinforce their own skills while teaching others. Plus you are adding to your teaching staff and multiplying your effort.

No one will really get it until they go through the steps several times with real patients. I would allow more time for hands on real-life experience. You will be valuable standing near by to help with the steps and reminders.

A full day of training for me..... I'm done concentraiting by lunch. Small steps with repitition... just my perspective. Go get 'em! No one begins to learn until you start.

Look for the one or two nurses that are enthusiastic, building their confidence will help with long term use, training of others and continuity. David

Anonymous said...

Hello You Lil Butter You,

Dave hit the nail right on the head. I have been to those all day seminars/training sessions and they are brutal. I have found that shorter sessions with hands-on training is the best approach. Maybe you can have Colleen observe your training sessions to look for the nurse(s) with the most excitement and enthusiasm. After all the nurses have been trained, you could further train or reinforce the nurse(s) observed that showed most excitement.
Vanessa has a good idea to create a training manual with screen shots. When this old man received computer training, I was very grateful for such manuals to refer to.
With your knowledge, patience and desire to be the best at what you put your mind to, you will suceeed. Keep the faith.
Uncle Ken

jshaffer said...

Thank you guys for all of the comments! These are all really good ideas that I'll keep in mind as I plan for the training stage of this project.

I think that, based on what I've heard, a full day training session is out. I think that you are exactly right when you say that it will be overwhelming, and probably impractical to remove one of the nurses for a full day.

I also think that the small group idea is fantastic. Hopefully be identifying fast learners, I'll be able to create new teachers, just as you said Uncle Dave.

I'm still trudging away at data entry, but hopefully all next week will be training prep and actual staff training. I'll be sure to keep you updated!!

Peter said...


What's the plan for backing up the data? You don't want to rely solely on storing the data on one computer.

Will data be backed up on a flash drive regularly? Will the nurses continue to use paper records and periodically enter them into the system (that might be the way to go).


Anonymous said...

Wow, you are really progressing with your software application at the HOPE Center. I too agree that too much condensed training can be overwelming. The key I feel is repetiton in small increments. Breaking the actual steps into smaller groupings of a few steps at a time will not seem so overwelming to the nurses. And then repeating those steps over again. Also as Dave and Uncle Ken said there will be those that are definitely quicker at grasping the new system, so encourage them and they will motivate and assist the others almost instinctively. Another idea is to actually have a "generic patient" aka "Suzie Snow" entered in the system with full data entered regarding her health history so if and when a nurse gets stumped(forgets) she can actually take a look at "Suzie's" records to help refresh her memory or even just reinforce herself that she is processing the data accurately. Kind of like a cheatsheet so to speak. Soon enough it will be like old hat to them.
Also while in training with the nurses, after a bit of time, put one nurse in the driver's seat and walk her through while she actually does the work on the computer. Practice by doing is the key! Keep up the great work. We know with your passion and patience you will have huge success. Don't give up...just take a break as needed!
Much Love,
Aunt Mary