There is a wide variety of applications and benefits of eLearning. eLearning is a powerful tool for individuals, from earning a college degree or learning how to manage a chronic disease. For healthcare organizations that must meet compliance management goals, reduce cost, increase efficiency, and improve patient outcomes, the power of online, anytime learning enables organizations to prioritize training needs, while allowing individuals to manage their time and learning environment.
In the past, compliance management in the healthcare industry involved staff members manually managing paper-based training programs and records. This model requires a significant time investment to maintain employee compliance, keep track of annual training requirements, acknowledge key policies, and measure job-specific competency. This does not fit today’s economic model of healthcare. In fact, failure to provide and document employee compliance with annual compliance training requirements can lead to serious fines, and contribute to avoidable errors and incidents.
Healthcare organizations that want to have an organized and systematic approach to managing compliance requirements as well as enterprise knowledge should consider the use of a learning management system (LMS). An LMS provides significant advantages for organizations when assigning and tracking employee training, including topics ranging from fire safety to best practices for improving patient outcomes.
Think of an LMS as an online library of course content that ensures compliance and tracks continuing education for licensed staff. An LMS can also act as the vehicle for sharing best practices throughout an organization by simply uploading and sharing. If you have ever been through an accreditation or audit process, you know that it’s not simply about providing compliance training to staff, but rather how well that training is organized and documented that results in a successful review.
Easy set up for increased efficiency
All deadlines for regulatory compliance can be set in the learning management system for the ultimate approach to organization and efficiency. There is a great benefit when employees have anytime access to training, and when the LMS notifies managers that employees have completed assigned courses. Instead of requiring administrators to review individual records, an LMS should be able to set reminders, reassign annual courses, and provide meaningful reports.
Characteristics of a quality LMS
The size and unique needs of the company will determine the LMS that is right for you. A system that has all the options you could possibly need yet can be condensed to only what you will actually use is ideal. There are many types of LMSs that include build-your-own or subscription access to course libraries and other resources. While cost is always a factor, make sure to consider the cost of not being completely compliant.
Your company may already have learning materials in PowerPoint or Word format in its curriculum that can be transformed into an engaging digital learning experience. Some companies that provide LMS access may offer a service to convert your existing course materials, while some may not. Consider also the ability of the company you are working with to develop custom courses that are based on your organization’s mission, vision, and goals. Personalized, branded training courses can engage employees with testimonials, patient population statistics, and opportunities for senior leadership to share their message.
Have you ever tried to get in touch with a company representative only to find that email and chat are the only options available? When choosing an LMS, make sure you understand the cost for support and how you access support. An in-house eLearning development department will provide the attention to detail and customization that your company needs, along with more personal service that caters to your organization. Design, development, and customer support are also crucial should you have any questions as you implement the program and as you identify and solve existing pain points.
An LMS that is specific for your industry is also an advantage. With the healthcare industry, you must also manage provider licensure and credentialing; record-keeping in the digital age requires a company that knows how to manage and protect your records, which has much more value than the self-serve or manual processes. A company that specializes in the healthcare industry can help to create the knowledge library that you can use to improve overall organizational performance.
All-in-one learning and compliance management systems
Many organizations have multiple programs that are separated from other important resources. Look for a company that has a comprehensive offering and select features that best meet your organization’s needs.
Take for example the OSHA requirement to train employees on hazardous communication. Simply assigning a course is insufficient to maintaining compliance. If an employee is trained on hazardous communication and there is an accidental exposure, how is that information documented and managed? Maybe the incident involved a piece of equipment, but the last time preventive maintenance was conducted on it is unknown. How about the policy on equipment management and location of the user manual?
There needs to be an Injury and illness prevention plan (IIPP), and an exposure control and hazardous communication plan that employees can easily access at any time. Additionally, employees must have access to safety data sheets (SDSs) and compliance management systems (CMSs) to fulfill the training requirements and the systems and resources needed to report a hazard or injury when it occurs. A CMS can connect all of the important elements associated with a training topic and provide access to tools and documentation processes that create real compliance.
With the right tools, your company can simplify regulatory compliance and training according to your specific needs so that you can focus on the more important tasks at hand. In the long run, investing in the proper LMS will not only save your company money through better compliance management, but it will also establish credibility among patients and peers.