Competency Assessments: Going Beyond Regulatory Requirements

by Saba Software | Posted | Performance Management

Competency Assessments: Going Beyond Regulatory Requirements

An increasing number of healthcare organizations are looking for new and innovative ways to support competency assessment programs. The traditional paper and pen tracking systems are becoming more burdensome to manage especially with the growing number of regulatory requirements healthcare organizations must comply with, such as Joint Commission and MAGNET(R).

In a recent webinar, leading competency assessment expert Donna Wright discussed the challenges of competency assessments.

In particular, Donna cites there are too many competencies, too many checklists, and too much of a tendency to use education as the answer to every performance-related problem.

New approaches to competency assessment, such as those advocated by Wright, help healthcare organizations to effectively monitor and document employee performance and competency proficiency to drive results beyond meeting regulatory requirements.

These new approaches foster individual accountability by aligning employee goals and development activities with organizational priorities and make the act of tracking progress a collaborative effort between the organization and its employees.

Paper-based competency assessment is challenging and time-consuming, making it difficult to ensure accuracy, quality and consistency in the process. This in turn makes it difficult to assess whether or not your organization meets regulatory requirements, let alone provide any capability to extend the value of these assessments into employee development opportunities.

The complexity of paper-based competency assessments is something the teams at Charles George Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Asheville, NC and Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, GA are painfully aware of. Charles George VAMC was relying on a paper-based system, and Piedmont Hospital was relying on a system of notebooks for their respective competency assessments.

With a move to an online performance management system to support their competency assessment, both of these organizations are focused on driving additional value beyond regulatory requirements. Charles George VAMC is using competency assessment to increase employee engagement and improve overall patient care. As the lead on the project explains:

We expect our competency assessment program to positively impact patient care as part of our sustained effort to ensure continued high quality of care. We will be able to quickly and easily identify areas of skills concern as they arise in the process which directly improves our level of patient care. We can ensure our employees have the most up-to-date skills and knowledge needed to serve our patients.

Piedmont Hospitals in Atlanta, GA has been using competency assessments to support the development of new graduate nurses. While the move to an automated competency assessment process was a gradual one, the result is driving new levels of employee accountability with individual nurses actively ensuring they receive required training. The end result is a competency assessment program that supports organizational goals and outcomes that benefit patients.

While competency assessment will always be a challenging area, it doesn't have to be a headache for HR professionals in the healthcare sector. Both the VAMC and Piedmont Hospital cases demonstrate that competency assessments can quickly become a powerful and strategic tool that supports organizational goals such as patient safety while driving employee engagement and accountability.

To view an archive of Donna Wright's webinar, click here.


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