"We were really looking for ways to share information in a way that was more efficient, using technology to provide the opportunity to share information among the hospitals - to build it one time and deploy it many times," said Kristy Johnston, vice president of marketing and planning for CHEX.
To facilitate the sharing of information, CHEX uses a learning management system from Knowledge Planet as the backbone of its structure, and the hospitals cooperate to build content, which is then reviewed by panelists in the hospitals, both prior to its launch as well as on a regular basis thereafter.
As a consortium, Johnston said CHEX is looking to leverage the technology to implement blended learning solutions to help the hospitals move their training to the next level. "The Web-based training is really a big piece of this," said Johnston. "It's a culture shift for them to move from instructor-led training alone to something that uses technology. It provides them with an efficient tracking and reporting system for regulatory purposes and for licensure purposes."
One of the challenges for the hospitals that are a part of CHCA is the decentralized nature of learning in their organizations, Johnston said. "Education happens in pockets of the hospital that some people may never know about or even touch, so providing a tool that allows them to somehow centralize those processes and still keep a number of individuals involved in that has been a challenge, and it's a culture shift for them," she added.
The hospitals need help pushing education out to their staff. By making it available anytime, anywhere, they ensure that staff members, who are busy with both children and family members as patients and as care-givers, will be able to access the training they need. "The results have been that the learners say that they like it because it's self-paced and they can do it any time. I think organizations get that part. Now they need to move to the next level. How can they use the Web-based approach and then build on that how they're doing the other pieces of instructor-led to build strong educational programs out there?"
The hospitals are seeing successes through CHEX Knowledge Exchange - both tangible and intangible. For example, Children's Medical Center of Dallas is seeing a 98 percent compliance rate on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. "They actually tried two methods of delivering that," explained Johnston. "One was the online, Web-based training, and one was instructor-led courses. They found tremendous expenditures in the area of instructor-led training on training the trainers, the materials that they needed and on attendance in classes, in addition to travel time. They noticed a 41 percent savings with the Web-based training."
Less tangible results were seen by Children's Healthcare Services in Omaha, which has taken its blended learning model to the next step. The hospital works with preceptors, individuals who partner with new nursing staff and guide them through their first few months with the organization. CHEX has worked with Children's Healthcare Services and some of the other hospitals to develop a combination of three to four Web-based training courses to serve as introductory material to be covered prior to the instructor-led course. Looking at pretests compared to post-tests to see how learners and preceptors are responding to the new format, Johnston said the results are very good. "They're really very happy with the training. They felt they were much more prepared. They noticed that their instructor-led course was actually shorter in time because they had come in prepared for the course ahead of time."
Working through a consortium model eases the pain of implementing expensive enterprise applications, like an LMS, for the hospitals that are a part of CHCA. In addition, the hospitals save money by working together, rather than going it alone. "We know that the hospitals individually could spend monstrous amounts of money trying to get these processes into place," said Johnston.
In the future, CHEX plans to continue to add more hospitals to the system because the more hospitals that participate, the more knowledge there is to share and work from. "We are focusing first on getting them implemented on the system utilizing the tools that are in the industry to make their lives easier and to help them work on not only the Web-based options for learning and education, but the blended models as well," said Johnston.