Learning In Practice 2014: Collaboration Division 2 Winners

From left: Don O'Grady, Adri Maisonet-Morales and Jacqueline Burandt


University Health System (San Antonio)

In any business, targeting a customer base requires changing practices. Now imagine the customers are actually patients, specifically sick children in need of immediate care.

When the University Health System in San Antonio expanded its pediatric services to include a one-stop center for children with routine and serious medical needs, it meant creating major additions to its training programs.

These included onboarding 400 new employees and updated existing employees’ skills. Existing nursing orientation programs were revised to include pediatric content and simulations. Ten directors in pediatrics were also added, which meant having to recruit and train mentors for the New Directors’ Mentor Program. 

The health care provider established the Pediatric Advanced Life Support, or PALS, Training Center to equip staff with the skills to care for very ill children. Its executive director, Jacqueline Burandt, collaborated with the system’s chief nursing officer and chief operating officer of pediatric clinical services to develop a comprehensive learning plan for all new and existing staff systemwide.

She also teamed up with academic medical center partners, who were able to help them get the funding they needed. “Collaboration is not a nice-to-have,” she said. “It’s a necessity in our complex world of high-tech, high-touch health care delivery.”

PALS training began in October 2013, only four months after the idea’s inception. Since then, 100 learners have participated in programs.“While taking care of our smallest patients required implementing large-scale changes in learning and development for our staff, the result justifies the effort,” Burandt said.

The organization also enhanced patient safety through communication between physicians, nurses and pharmacists, attracted more pediatric specialists to join its team and moved forward in four business areas: improve patient experience, quality, efficiency and access.



Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Changes in the health care industry’s regulation requirements required an organizational transformation for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, from improving customer service — a priority business goal — and agility to retooling employees with higher-level consultation skills.

Because of this shift, demand for enterprise learning and development initiatives increased 241 percent between 2012 and 2013. The health care company didn’t just collaborate with digital content provider Aptara — it embedded it into day-to-day operations and culture.

To bridge the gap in needs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina partnered with Aptara’s Extended Development Team, integrating the client’s teachers with the vendor’s developers and designers. With help from global consultancy firm Accenture, the health insurance company outsourced 40 percent of its development to Aptara, 94 percent of it went to the design team dedicated to the organization.

This approach not only resulted in more flexible, modular learning that increased engagement but also in shorter onboarding programs that still cover key product and operational information. Including Aptara and Accenture cost the company $725,000, but it expects more than $1.6 million in savings. The partnership will continue as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina hopes to see the same benefits span across the organization through 15 other curricula.



LPL Financial

There can be such a thing as too many learning programs. As LPL Financial’s organizational development and training department provided more offerings, it saw its 3,500 employees struggled to make learning choices relevant to their career objectives.

So the group started a number of initiatives to create delineated learning plans. It created a corporate university, LPL U, with five colleges that aligned to business functions such as business service and solutions, technology solutions and leadership. By collaborating with senior leaders across the firm, the learning team developed the Pathways career development system, a corporate university and a dean’s council to align learning with business goals.

Since LPL put the initiatives in place less than a year ago, overall engagement scores have risen from 63.9 percent to 68.4 percent. Regulatory training was cut by four hours, giving employees more time for their day-to-day jobs while also increasing required compliance completions by 23 percent.