How to Create an EHR Training Program that Prevents Physician Burnout

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Part 1: Program Design

This article is co-authored with Sedona Learning Solutions.

It’s no secret that physician burnout is a real problem when it comes to EHR implementation. Physicians complete many years of education so they can practice medicine, not work in IT systems. But, as the majority of hospitals and health systems have transitioned to electronic health records, physicians must learn to do both—for the good of their patients and organizations.

A 2019 analysis published in Applied Clinical Informatics found that the single greatest predictor of user experience is the quality of training they received, regardless of the system in use. By improving the way they conduct training during the EHR implementation process, healthcare organizations can set up physicians for greater success and satisfaction with the technology.

What’s Wrong with the Current ehr training Approach?

Before updating your EHR training process, it’s important to understand why it doesn’t currently hit the mark. Often, a hospital partners with a consulting firm that sends in a large team to lead multi-day intensive classroom and one-on-one sessions with EHR users. Ultimately, this benefits the consultants more than the providers, who realize few benefits from the setup.

Here’s why this approach leads to burnout:

It Doesn’t Facilitate Information Retention

Requiring physicians to sit in on training sessions over the course of several days can result in information overload. They don’t have enough time or space to fully absorb the details of using the system, which means they can feel unprepared when it comes time to actually make the transition. In fact, according to research shared in Rob Brinkerhoff’s 2006 book Telling Training’s Story: Evaluation Made Simple, Credible, and Effective, when trainers focus most of their attention on a singular education event, they lose 70% of their investment in user outcomes.

It Takes Up Too Much Time

If physicians have to spend 15 hours of their week in EHR training, that’s 15 hours they’re not spending with patients, which can result in poorer care, lower patient satisfaction, and lost revenue. This type of training can also be cumbersome for the hospital to coordinate, requiring involvement from multiple departments. It’s a significant endeavor with not enough ROI.

It’s Not Flexible Enough

By limiting EHR training options to classroom and one-on-one sessions, hospitals don’t allow physicians to learn in the best way for them. This can have a negative impact on morale and deter users from even attending scheduled training.

Keys to Customized EHR Training


To create EHR training programs that combat physician burnout, hospitals and health systems need to make customization a cornerstone of their efforts. It’s important that each component of the program focuses on reducing complexities and making physicians’ lives easier.

Below are three keys to creating a customized EHR training program that works for everyone.

1. Just Enough

Too much information in one sitting is a bad thing, so you’ll want to shorten your classroom time and supplement with eLearning tools that physicians can use to study before and after the sessions. This ensures they receive “just enough” instruction that they feel prepared, but not overwhelmed.

2. Just for Me

Remember, EHR users only really care and need to know about features and functions that pertain to their specific roles. Don’t spend time on an overview of all the possible system uses because most training attendees won’t engage with all of them. Instead, a customized program provides specific scenarios in which each user will need to work in the system.

3. Just in Time

Physicians need the flexibility to learn when and where they want, rather than being confined to a specific date, time, and place. We recommend providing eLearning materials that cover system basics at the onset of training, then following up with small classroom and one-on-one time that reviews and builds on the information. Following the in-person sessions, ensure students have access to online refresher tools they can reference as additional questions arise.

What’s Next?

Once you’ve established the guideposts of your EHR training program, the next step is to implement it. That’s what we discuss in Part 2 of this blog post   — check it out to learn how to put your training plan into action.

And, download our white paper “Usage vs. Adoption: The Real Measure of Success for IT Transitions” to learn how to appropriately calculate and track adoption metrics for your EHR.


Meditech EHR Training

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