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Staff "super users" who train others on clinical information systems help shape positive employee attitudes

Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347

Clinical information systems (CIS) are often installed in health care organizations to improve patient quality. When implementing a CIS, institutions often provide extra training to employees who then serve as trainers, provide technical support, and champion the use of the system. Such individuals are called "super users." A new study finds that the attitudes and time spent by these super users go a long way toward increasing positive employee perceptions of the CIS.

For this study, a new CIS was implemented at a large midwestern, rural hospital. The system included an electronic health record component with computerized provider order entry. Departmental administrators selected 82 clinical staff members to be trained as super users. These super users were surveyed on the amount of time they spent on work related to super user duties and on their attitudes toward these responsibilities.

The researchers found that more hours devoted to carrying out the super user role was associated with positive employee perceptions about the CIS. They also found a positive correlation between super user attitudes toward the CIS and employee attitudes. How super users perceived their qualifications was also significantly associated with employee outcomes. According to the researchers, the effects produced by super users are far reaching within the health care organization. These individuals enhance the perceptions among employees about the usefulness and ease of use of the CIS. Super users also provide clinical staff members with supplementary development of informatics competencies in the form of just-in-time training at the point the staff are doing actual work. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS15196).

See "The relationship between super users' attitudes and employee experiences with clinical information systems," by Jonathon R. B. Halbesleben, Ph.D., Douglas S. Wakefield, Ph.D., Marcia M. Ward, M.A., Ph.D., and Donald Crandall, M.D., in the January 2009 Medical Care Research and Review 66(1), pp. 82-96.

Current as of July 2009
Internet Citation: Staff "super users" who train others on clinical information systems help shape positive employee attitudes: Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347. July 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jul09/0709RA26.html