How Many Epic Trainers Will You Need For Your Implementation?

Resource planning for an Epic implementation is a tremendous undertaking and estimating the “right” number of Epic trainers required for organizational success is a common challenge.

Epic Systems guides all of its customers on resource planning and their tools for gauging customer training needs are simple to use and provide a good baseline number as a starting point.

That said, every organization is unique and there is no quick, ‘one size fits all’ answer to the question of how many Epic trainers you will need.

In my experience, a multitude of factors come into play when determining your organization’s optimal training headcount. And many of the data points that will guide the ultimate number and mix of trainers needed aren’t fully knowable at the beginning of the implementation. So some flexibility in your plan is required.

Planning Basics
In general, you need instructional designers to create content and trainers to deliver the content. Slot one Epic instructional designer (ID) to develop content for each module/application. If you are implementing 10 distinct Epic modules, you’ll need 10 IDs. In addition, you will need to hire a strong eLearning ID to convert the materials for all of the modules into online learning content.

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For end user training, a good planning guideline is one classroom trainer per application for every 200 staff, and one trainer per application for every 50 providers.

You also need to know how many different roles within a module will be taught. The application training for a nurse or lab tech is different from what a physician must learn. Some of these roles require classroom training delivered by a trainer, but other roles can be taught outside of the classroom with a webinar or eLearning.

Understanding these roles and the training needs for each will affect the number of trainers required, but this information may not be known until the build is completed.

Classrooms and Schedules
The number of classrooms available per site and the number of seats in each room are also critical variables to assess in your resource plan.

Large health systems with disparate locations will add complexity to your calculations. Generally, the greater the travel time between sites/classrooms, the more trainers you will need.

Take Los Angeles as an example, and a training plan that requires classrooms in the San Fernando Valley and Santa Monica. Even though these sites are only about 16 miles apart, depending on the time of day, the travel time from one to the other could be up to 90 minutes.  This means a trainer can only train at one location a day in this scenario.

Your staffing models and day-to-day operations also greatly influence how many individuals can attend training at any given time at a particular site, which in turn, affects the number of trainers you may need.

You will need to assess how many staff can be off the schedule at one time without adversely affecting patient care or business operations. Certain sites may want all of their staff to train together. The special scheduling requirements of provider groups and overnight staff also need to be considered. In sum, the more times you need to schedule a given class to account for all of these variables, the more trainers you will likely need.

Other Training Needs
Resource plans should also account for the non-classroom activities of trainers. To base your hiring exclusively on classroom hours and training sites ignores the other demands on the time of your training staff.

Some examples of non-classroom responsibilities include supporting on-site practice sessions, participating in workflow dress rehearsals, and offering individualized 1:1 training for certain key personnel.

All of these considerations are organization-specific, and thus hard to capture in a general resource planning calculator. That’s why I say use vendor estimating tools for your baseline, but be prepared to spend more and hire more (up to 20% more than vendor estimates) to adequately prepare your organization for a transformational change of this magnitude.

Vicki Davis is Healthcare IT Leaders VP, EHR Activation and Training. She has led large-scale training and delivery teams at Providence Health and Systems and Stanford Health and has overseen classroom-based and online learning programs for tens of thousands of end-users over the past decade.

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