Effective compliance and regulatory training is a major challenge for most hospitals. In this guest post, Peter Cizik, VP of corporate development at an online training platform, offers nine ways to maximize compliance training efficiency and effectiveness.
Keeping up with delivering effective compliance and regulatory training can be an uphill battle for healthcare organizations. Not only are federal and state regulations constantly evolving, making it difficult to keep up with the changes, but also the sheer number of employees and the varieties of training they require can make timely dissemination of new information a challenge. Layer on complicating factors like organizational growth and turnover, and the obstacle multiplies quickly.
At the same time, it’s crucial for organizations to stay on top of their training delivery, and be able to document proof of participation and certification as needed. That’s one reason on-demand, online education has gained so much traction in the healthcare industry. It enables organizations to better deliver the right compliance training to the right staff at the right time to ensure their mandates are met.
But how do you keep something that’s mandatory from becoming mundane? How can you deliver training that’s engaging and useful, that doesn’t make employees’ eyes glaze over?
To maximize compliance training efficiency and effectiveness, here are nine tips that can help make this mandatory training more meaningful and memorable:
- Make your training portal the voice of authority. Because organizations must handle compliance training for multiple agencies whose regulations are in a state of constant flux, it’s critical to create a central repository that becomes your organization’s official authority on the latest mandates. Having this single trusted source allows employees to know they can count on the portal for a refresher, to answer questions and resolve challenges.
- Add policy/procedure documents to training modules. Too often, policy and procedure documents are physically detached from training modules, which often leaves employees unable to find the operational mandates they need after the training concludes. Instead, attach policy and procedure documents directly to each course and bring references to them into the workflow. This not only helps to operationalize the policy, but also teaches employees specifically where to go for additional information or support after the module is completed.
- Keep reinforcement training digestible. Health care workers rarely have an hour to dedicate to a training module—they’re simply too busy with work tasks. Keeping refresher training brief, in 10-15 minute modules, makes it easier to keep learners engaged, makes the information easier to understand and remember, and allows you to appeal to different audiences and learning styles.
- Blend online and classroom training. Online delivery is great for standardized training. However, it sometimes doesn’t address the human element of health care very well. For example, direct care employees (those working with patients and their families on a daily basis), must be careful to balance regulatory requirements like HIPAA privacy laws with a certain level of sensitivity to emotional needs and concerns of patients and their families. For these individuals, an instructor-led training can be very helpful to bring complex training to life, enabling instructors to drill in to complex situations, provide role-playing opportunities and an opportunity to ask questions about specific situations, whereas an online program provides none of that.
- Make training available on-demand. Don’t restrict training delivery to only when there are updates to compliance mandates. Staff may run into challenges and issues on the job every day that could benefit from a self-guided refresher. Make these types of training modules available for employees to revisit at any time if and when they run into issues that call for a reminder.
- Use the “drip method” to keep training relevant. To keep employees on track with their mandatory refresher training, configure reminders to automatically send brief follow-up quizzes and other types of “challenges” related to course materials after module completion. This helps keep training top of mind and allows employees to put into practice concepts or techniques that they maybe haven’t encountered yet on the job.
- Use gamification to entice participation. Maintaining learner engagement is a huge factor in helping staff absorb and retain training information. To encourage participation and recall, implement a creative gamification system that uses points, badges and leaderboards to incentivize employees. These virtual rewards can also be tied to tangible rewards, allowing staff to earn gift cards and other prizes for their successful and timely completion of required training.
- Provide mobile access. Carving out time during a shift to participate in training can be virtually impossible, especially for direct care staff who should be attending to patient needs. Providing mobile access to training modules via smartphone or tablet allows staff to participate in training when and where it’s most convenient for them – during a break, at home or even during their daily commute. This easy accessibility reduces barriers to training, making it more likely that staff will actively participate.
- Ensure audit readiness/validation. The best training tactics in the world are only as good as your tracking. Choose an LMS platform that provides built-in audit readiness that allows you to not only quickly see who has completed which trainings and who has not, but also includes a system for automated reminders to help employees stay on track with their own mandatory participation. This will enable your organization to operate with the confidence that employees are up-to-date on certifications and the latest mandates, and meet audit requirements on demand.
In many healthcare settings, compliance training is an annual grind that requires an inordinate amount of resources to keep staff on track and up to date. Implementing these tactics, along with decentralizing some of the training responsibilities across the organization, can help to keep even the largest organizations in full compliance with the latest requirements and keep staff actively engaged, even when it comes to mandated learning.
Peter Cizik is the VP of Corporate Development at Litmos, an online training platform that makes the management and delivery of web and mobile training courses easy.