Healthcare organizations must ensure that their mandatory training requirements around accreditation, patient privacy and clinical licensures are up to date in order to be deemed compliant by regulatory bodies, such as The Joint Commission. In order to stay organized, efficient, and ready for an audit, healthcare organizations should consider implementing a learning management system (LMS).
An LMS can help these organizations improve compliance, which contributes to better patient care and employee engagement. Based on the recommendations of learning professionals at various healthcare organizations who have implemented a learning management systems in the past; here are five things to consider before implementing an LMS in healthcare.
1. Determine the Entirety of the LMS Project
It’s important to figure out beforehand if your organization is ready for the level of complexity of the learning management system. Consider conducting a critical audit of the learning environment and the employees who will utilize the system. This includes analyzing the amount of courses that will be delivered and the number of learners who need to use the system. Schneck Medical Center got up and running quickly with their LMS by teaching all directors and managers how to assign a class to their employees, enroll an employee in a class and run reports. When considering the scope of an LMS implementation project, keep the end goals in mind, such as producing required data for accrediting bodies like The Joint Commission, compliance reporting for HIPAA, and tracking and recording of competencies. Utilizing their LMS, Schneck Medical Center was able to quickly produce all the needed reports for both ANCC Magnet Recognition® and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award application, which made the implementation process worthwhile.
2. Have a Content Strategy in Place
Healthcare organizations use their commitment to ongoing employee training as the driving force for improvement initiatives. Most of the training centers around learning content provided by the learning management team through a variety of sources, from nearby universities to courseware vendors. Your content strategy should include what content will be put into the LMS and how courses will be distributed throughout the organization. This strategy flows from determining the scope of the LMS and from weighing the requests and needs of the users. Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer at Brandon Hall Group, suggests that healthcare organizations need to come up with a strategy for how training content is delivered through the LMS. MidMichigan Health also cautions against adding courses into the LMS without rhyme or reason. Jason Sheffer, Corporate Director of Education at MidMichigan Health and his team implemented a steering committee and calendar for releasing courseware and training content.
3. Utilize Standards From the Start
MidMichigan Health said it’s hard to go back and clean up course names after loading the courses into the LMS. A standardized naming structure and numbering system for courses should be used from the beginning to stay organized. By implementing a standardized naming system right away, this will make reporting more efficient since the specific courses and learner credentials will be much easier to find. Systematic delivery of training sessions allowed Schneck Medical Center to be consistent with their metrics. By utilizing a learning management system, Schneck was able to test employees on their knowledge and report on their skill set at any given time.
4. Consider Introducing the System to Employees in Phases
By slowly introducing the LMS to employees and making it available to willing participants, there might be less resistance to its purpose. Many healthcare organizations find it’s useful to identify champions of this new initiative first, make sure they are using it successfully, and then build up momemtum before rolling it out to the entire organization. Barnabas Health first introduced employees to its LMS by using the system for voluntary training. Once people were familiar with it, the LMS was then used for paid employees’ mandatory online training. However, before you introduce the new system, ensure employees have easy access to training. Huntsville Hospital installed cyber cafes near its cafeteria to ensure that employees would have a place to take online courses on their own time.
5. Have Realistic Expectations for Learning Technology
Many organizations believe that technology alone will improve their learning processes. However, Rochelle has found that learning technology does not fix sub-optimized learning processes. Rather, technology tends to magnify the flaws of the learning processes the healthcare organization has in place. Healthcare organizations must ensure that they are committed to their learning management system and enforce its use by explaining the benefits to employees.
By utilizing a learning management system, healthcare organizations can make required training and learning sessions less of a burden for their employees and remain organized when it comes time for an audit. When implementing a learning management system, healthcare organizations should learn from their peers and consider these six recommendations to make sure the process goes smoothly and that the LMS is utilized to its full capacity.
Download our white paper, 5 Ways a Learning Management System Can Improve Compliance for Healthcare Organizations to learn how an LMS will help your organization improve compliance and employee engagement, along with vendor selection questions and implementation strategies.