It's not news that information technology is driving major transformation within hospitals and other healthcare institutions. However, it may not be apparent that it is not only the systems and data enabling new/improved patient interactions that are evolving at a rapid rate. There are also important opportunities for technology to improve the enablement of healthcare providers, improve administrative efficiency and increase the probabilities of attaining the expected outcomes (an increasingly significant factor in our business reimbursement models).
An effective learning management system (LMS) is a vital component of this overall model: it is the delivery system of important information for clinical staff; it automates and standardizes the administration of training across the organization; it is the repository of compliance records; and at its best, it is part of a unified talent management system that works together to make your organization's "employers of choice" in the war for talent for doctors, nurses, technicians and other experienced healthcare staff. Said another way: in today's rapidly changing healthcare environment, an LMS is a strategic imperative for those organizations seeking to maximize the quality of care and efficiency of their operations.
Learning management system success story: Adventist Health System
As a Saba partner, The Educe Group is excited to share the story of our client Adventist Health System at the April 11 webinar, "From Silos to Healthy and Happy: How Adventist Is Transforming Its Learning Culture." In the webinar, Dr. Hap Aziz, Director of Learning for AHS and myself will discuss best practices and lessons learned, gaining insights into how Adventist is:
Integrating their LMS platform with both a legacy and future-state HRIS and:
- Achieving a transformation in their learning culture to support the same quality care across all 45 hospital campuses
- Streamlining learning content and processes to drive efficiencies.
I think when we talk about using an LMS in a healthcare context, the first question should be: why does it matter? There are several answers to this question, and in this blog post, I'll touch on a few briefly.
Why the LMS matters in healthcare reason #1:
Empowered, well-trained employees lead to better patient outcomes
Health systems are wisely reviewing their enterprise platforms regularly and seeking cost savings through enhanced functionality; smarter integration; re-engineered processes; and technology solutions-and this includes talent management. As far as learning management systems are concerned, the question will always be asked: Where are we putting our dollars? What are we gaining from our investment in LMS licenses? What is ultimately the employee and patient impact?
Often, health systems have multiple learning platforms in place within their network of hospitals, rehabilitation centers and other facilities. With frequent acquisitions or consolidation within healthcare systems, the challenges for efficiency are painful and painfully obvious. Add to it an LMS vendor who doesn't grasp the criticality of the healthcare and patient outcome context (yes, it happens), and now you're living with a poorly designed and implemented system that is actually creating costs on top of it all.
Maybe there is great content available but it's not accessible to all employees because of these different platforms or other technology barriers. Highly-motivated training coordinators may wish to share an innovative approach or process with their learning colleagues on another campus miles away, but due to the ill-fitting LMS, that knowledge cannot be shared and is lost.
All of these obstacles impede the ability and potential for clinical training staff to receive training to enhance how they deliver patient care. These issues interfere with the education and informatics groups developing strategies to train the entire organization, whether they are in Corporate; in the operating room; at a patient's bedside; or ensuring that patients and family members experience excellent care in a clean, well-kept facility.
Great healthcare professionals put themselves in the shoes of their patients and strive to provide excellent care. Great learning professionals put themselves in the shoes of their learning clients (fellow employees) and strive to provide excellent training. A forward-thinking LMS and platform integration approach can bring both groups together so that patients-and those serving them-thrive.
Why the LMS matters in healthcare reason #2:
High-quality onboarding means employees are ready to go
The minute employees are hired by a large health system with dozens of locations, are they offered ways to be trained, equipped and ready for their first day of employment? The staffing needs of health systems are complex: from temporary workers to highly-trained physician specialists, how does the learning team bring those folks on board? Take, for example, the many healthcare organizations that find themselves in concurrent LMS and Epic implementations where employee onboarding covers not only organizational compliance but training specific to their clinical role.
The LMS should not only provide and track specialized healthcare content, it should facilitate the onboarding process as a whole. Further, in this day and age, it should provide creative, flexible options to account for organizational initiatives (like a coinciding Epic implementation) and positively engage that new employee upon hire.
Additionally, many health systems have high-level management training designed for leadership staff. Talent management professionals in the critical battle for talent are looking to not only stay on top of these curricula, they're looking to create easy, engaging programs so the focus can be on development and growth.
Therefore LMS's must be able to handle onboarding for disparate groups, plus give them a roadmap for improved training methods, more easily addressing compliance directives and future career aspirations. Studies show that employees who feel their employer has a vested interest in their career are more likely to be engaged and stay with the organization. The healthcare organizations we have partnered with-such as AHS-understand this is a priority that can be made evident to employees on Day One.
Why the LMS matters in healthcare reason #3:
A high-quality LMS can contribute to a transformative learning culture
AHS understands that developing a learning culture can receive a promising start at the C-level (via CNOs, CTOs, CLOs, and the like) but must be driven and carried out throughout the organization. It requires a thoughtful, honest look at the organization's history and a deliberate process to build a transformative learning culture over time.
For instance, AHS has 45 campuses with many creative, high-performing employees within their organization, and I have seen them: in the hallways of hospitals and in implementation meetings. Up until now, these educators, supervisors and clinical informatics teams have done their best to share information and best practices despite not having a fluid way from facility to facility due to platform variations. They have admirably poured their energy into the calling of their responsibilities in supporting the training, compliance and development of fellow clinical and non-clinical staff.
But with Saba, they are excited to place that energy into looking beyond the current day-to-day: to bring valuable employee knowledge to the platform's collaboration tools; to gain efficiencies in process and compliance and the integration of the LMS with their enterprise ecosystem; and to spend those gains on innovative approaches for training and development.
Saba's learning capabilities will suit AHS well, but we know this because AHS's Director of Learning (Dr. Hap Aziz) and his learning team has also spent-and continues to spend-the time to analyze and discover what AHS employees needed when selecting a platform vendor and implementation team.
With Saba Cloud, AHS is targeting and clearing the obstacles that facility educators and learning program administrators have faced from a day-to-day, tool and process standpoint. Investment and planning can now be focused on transforming employee learning, development, engagement and patient outcomes, all within an industry with a high level of cost-consciousness. Put another way: when I hear, for example, from a Nursing Educator spending an unnecessary and frustrating amount (sometimes a majority!) of time trying to track CMEs (Continuing Medical Education) credits or Joint Commission requirements, this is simply not the way things are supposed to be. Broaden that to the larger training and development processes in play for an organization the size of AHS, and the ways we have partnered together to make thoughtful moves-and you can easily see that the transformation at play feeds both employee and patient outcomes. Everyone wins.