VA Focuses on Walla Walla EHR Implementation End-User Training

VA will monitor EHR implementation end-user training needs through a training completion dashboard starting with the Walla Walla medical center.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will continue to monitor end-user training needs post-EHR implementation go-live at the VA Walla Walla medical center in Washington, according to reporting from GovCIO Media & Research.

The go-live period ran through April 8. A VA spokesperson told the news outlet that during this time, VA's Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) Integration Office provided technical support to help staff adjust to the new system.

"After go-live, Walla Walla will go into a sustainment period, during which super users at the facility are available to provide support to their peers and answer questions about workflows or applications," the spokesperson said.

"In addition, we will continue to monitor clinical issues, end-user training needs, patient-safety issues, and resolve tickets logged by the facility," they added. "We will also continue to monitor the system's performance and ensure the best experience for our end-users." 

About a year ago, VA launched a strategic review of its EHR program, which revealed challenges with the initial implementation strategy for training, management, and governance.

In December 2021, the agency announced new changes, including updates to its timeline and reorganization of its leadership structure, in an attempt to overcome these challenges.  

The VA official said that the agency supports workforce training to ensure that end-users can use the new platform effectively as the EHR implementation continues.

VA's workforce training includes virtual and in-person modules for medical personnel on their specific roles. The agency also leveraged lessons learned from its initial Mann-Grandstaff rollout to improve future site implementations, the VA official told GovCIO Media & Research.

"In response to feedback, VA made over 2,000 content changes since the conclusion of training at Mann-Grandstaff in October 2020, including improvements to both the quality and quantity of training," the spokesperson said.

"Training includes access to the EHRM Phase One Sandbox, a hands-on practice environment to foster end-user understanding and adoption of the new EHR," they continued. "The Sandbox allows users to review and practice what they learned and become more familiar with the system." 

Starting with VA's Walla Walla site, the agency has also maintained a training completion dashboard that identifies training completions and outstanding training items for end-users.

The spokesperson said that the agency will continue to enhance training content through an expanded course catalog and more computer-based training offerings to provide end-users more flexibility.

VA will also launch a Sustainment Resource Center that is set to provide online access to system alerts and other supplemental training materials, such as tip sheets and quick reference guides, to better guide support the workforce through EHR implementation.  

As the agency makes these changes, VA is focusing on integration between its EHRM Office's technical teams, the Office of Information and Technology (OIT), and the VHA Office of Health Informatics (OHI) to provide a unified approach to the systemwide EHR implementation.

The VA spokesperson said this collaborative effort allowed VA to perform a mock go-live at Walla Walla with integrated response teams.

The next VA facility scheduled for EHR go-live is the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System in Columbus, Ohio, on April 30, 2022.  

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