Physicians are some of the most time squeezed professionals on Earth. Whether practicing at a hospital, or as part of a care delivery organization, physicians must keep up to date clinically while they serve their panel of patients. Additionally, many physicians are doing research or have management responsibilities within their organization. Lastly, in order to be a practicing clinician within their organization, these same physicians are required to learn the technology systems used in order to document their clinical encounters (mostly EHRs). How do most organizations train their physicians? In classrooms watching trainers move through PowerPoint slides while lecturing. Do we want our physicians spending up to 20 hours of their time in classrooms learning to use an administrative system? Physician staffing shortages are a reality. Utilizing their time for non clinical activities only exacerbates a bad situation. Most believe there are not enough Primary Care Physicians in the U.S. today, and the situation is only getting worse. (See Chart) According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there were 744,224 licensed and active physicians in the U.S. in 2011. Of those, 208,802 were aged 60 or older. At the same time there were 80,279 enrolled in the 137 accredited U.S. medical schools. Assuming no attrition, medical school graduates transitioning into their clinical residency (3 to 7 years) will average 20,070 per year, fewer than those retiring. There must be a better way to train physicians then spending the equivalent of 1,875,000 eight hour shifts (750,000 physicians times 20 hours training divided by 8 hours per shift) learning how to properly document a clinical encounter. Virtual Immersive Learning is one solution. Can you recommend others?
Recently, I was talking with a top tier EHR trainer at a very large regional health system. She told me that while their EHR vendor had a strict requirement for all trainees to take the standard EHR training courses, including eLearnings and classroom training, when a team of Emergency Department clinical staff began to use the new EHR they were unable to efficiently and effectively apply what they had learned. Why? Because they were so lost they didn’t know where to begin. According to Wikipedia, “E-learning(or eLearning) is the use of electronic educational technology in learning and teaching.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-learning ) But “e-Learning” is frequently as simple as a few PowerPoint slides with a simple test to take at the conclusion of the slides. Static PowerPoint based eLearning gives you assurance that your staff has seen the material. They have probably even understood some of the information. But this modality gives you no insight into whether or not the staff can apply what they’ve learned in a realistic, job-oriented scenario. In contrast, adaptive or virtual immersive training provides adequate integration, realism and immersion (the learner must engage with their full focus to make it through the training) that you will know for certain that your staff is ready to go.According to Wikipedia, “immersion into virtual reality is a perception of being physically present in a non-physical world. The perception is created by surrounding the user of the VR system in images, sound or other stimuli that provide an engrossing total environment.” In layman’s terms: when your staff has experienced Virtual Immersive Learning they have already worked with your new EHR in their actual work role.