How to make a SuperUser role in an EMR launch SUPER


The Super User will be the first point of contact your team will have during your EMR (Electronic Medical Record System) launch or upgrade. Time, effort and expense have been placed into making this role available with the overall goal of having a team of Super Users lead your staff to a successful EMR launch.

EMR launch

Based on our EMR launch and upgrade experiences at the Hospital and Clinical level, we offer our view of how to ensure your investment in Super Users pays off with a successful EMR launch: Creation of 2 SuperUser roles – Clinical and Technical.

The ‘Clinical’ SuperUser

This is the role for the on-site person who has been involved directly with your facilities workflows in a caregiving environment.  Those workflows are now being moved to the new EMR.  During the pre-launch activities, the Clinical Super User would have provided feedback during the system build and become a knowledgeable subject matter expert. Their understanding of existing workflows is crucial in ensuring the workflow exists and works successfully in the EMR.

In those EMR launches deemed successful, the facilities have thoughtfully included members of their clinical, caregiving staff into the EMR development and launch. Allowing them to work exclusively in the Super User capacity during the Launch or Upgrade brings to your staff a represent who has the knowledge and communication to talk of ‘how it worked’ and ‘how it works now’ in the EMR environment.

Because these are valuable staff members that you are taking away from their already defined role, they are usually a smaller number of your staff.  As caregivers, they are going to have to fully suspend that role during the EMR launch

The ‘Technical’ Super User

This group of technically savvy individuals brings to your facility experienced knowledge of the EMR, understanding of the system dynamics and interoperability. They are specialized with the ‘big picture’ of the EMR.  From the scheduling and check-in of patients, entry of vitals, finding where lab results and images are stored, printer issues, personalization/preference listing in system, dictation systems, etc.  They do it all.

You have the opportunity to staff this role from your own facility staffing, or thru a 3rd party vendor that specializes in EMR implementations and upgrade support, or a combination of both.   Considerations should be made to:

  • Are you able to pull staff from a role that doesn’t require filling with temporary services?
  • Is the individual going to be able to translate the expensive training and classroom time on the floor with your clinical staff?
  • How will you measure their knowledge of the EMR prior to launch?
  • Does this 3rd party vendor have experienced staff for your EMR selection?

 Working in Tandem:

Without clear definition of the SuperUser, you do not maximize the skills of your EMR support staff.  You want to ensure that your Clinical SuperUser is not working on a printer issue, and your Technical Super User is not diagnosing a workflow translation from your prior environment to your new EMR environment. Both situations need to be addressed – and both have the correct resource available.

Working in tandem allows the teams to clearly assign the situation at hand to the right person. When those roles become blurred – frustration, lack of support and impact on caregiving can occur.  Ensure you approach your staffing plan with the understanding you are providing stronger support when both Clinical and Technical Super Users are available. When either side gets limited, the role becomes less effective.

Clinical Super User and Technical Super User – what they have in common:

To become ‘Super’ Super Users, all members will need to approach the EMR implementation with –

  • Enthusiasm and a positive attitude
  • Strong work ethic and commitment to problem resolution
  • Excellent communication skills during tense situations
  • Excellent computer knowledge
  • Selling ability to sell the EMR to your staff and highlight the positives
  • Individuals who like to be ‘elbow-to-elbow’ with others. This is not a role for wallflowers

Your ‘Super’ Super Users will be individuals who like to be elbow-to-elbow with others. They will become the ‘face’ of the EMR launch. Clearing defining their roles and supporting the tandem work plan will add greatly to the success of your EMR launch.

Author Bio:

Janet Callahan is an EMR Implementation Project Manager at Essia Health.

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