Super users is a term coined for staff members at your hospital who become the go-to people for the EHR. These users are typically involved in the EHR selection process (although not a requirement) and are the first trained on the system. After go-live, they are looked to as the first source of information to answer questions, train new employees and communicate with your EHR vendor.
Your super users play an important role in the overall success of the implementation and ongoing use of your EHR. As such, they must be chosen with care and a strategic view of your hospital’s long-term goals.
Characteristics of an EHR super user
- People with long-term potential. When choosing your super users, look for people you are confident will be with your hospital for a while. Especially at rural and community hospitals where staff numbers are low, your super users need to be in it for the long haul. High turnover at this level could hinder your ability to get new employees trained and proficient on your EHR system.
- People with technology experience. Using an EHR requires at least a basic level of computer proficiency (e.g., ability to navigate a website, upload files and use a mouse). When choosing super users, find people who are comfortable using a computer. You want them to concentrate during training on the EHR and its functionality, not basic computer skills.
- People with EHR experience. While this was difficult to find two or three years ago, especially in the rural market, the proliferation of EHRs at hospitals across the United States has made experienced EHR users more available. When possible, find people who have previous experience working with an EHR. Their background knowledge will prove extremely valuable during the selection process (and beyond), as they’ll be able to identify wants / needs of the new EHR that your other team members may not know to ask about.
- People willing to take the time. Being a super user is a great recognition of a job well done but it sometimes does not come easily. You need super users who are willing to take the time to train other employees, answer questions and be on call sometimes for late-night issues. When discussing roles and responsibilities with your super user candidates make sure they understand what this new role will require of them in addition to their multiple duties.
- People with diverse roles. Your EHR will affect every area of your hospital. When choosing super users, address all departments. While these users do not need to be your department leaders, it is important to have each area represented so that each department has a go-to person for questions.
- People who are positive. Super users will lead your hospital through implementation, go-live and beyond. No implementation is without its hiccups, and every hospital will have its naysayers. Find the positive people in your organization who are excited to champion this endeavor. You want people who will motivate and encourage your other employees.